An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination by Sheera Frankel and Cecilia Kang

Zuck: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns Friend: what!? how’d you manage that one? Zuck: people just submitted it. Zuck: i don’t know why Zuck: they ““trust me”” Zuck: dumb fucks

This will not be an objective review, I detest Facebook. I deleted my account 4 years ago. Facebook for me is the perfect example of all that is wrong with the internet. This is an important book though, that brings together the years from 2015-2020. If you’ve been following Facebook in the news, a lot of this won’t be new to you, but this book does bring together all the elements of the story in a cohesive narrative. This book will be an important historical document to look back upon Facebook in the future.

Facebook’s success ““depends upon one-way-mirror operations engineered for our ignorance and wrapped in a fog of misdirection, euphemism and mendacity”” - Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff

If you want to read more about Surveilance Capital which Facebook is very much a part of, read Zuboff’s book - The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.

The root of the disinformation problem, of course, lay in the technology. Facebook was designed to throw gas on the fire of any speech that invoked an emotion, even if it was hateful speech - its algorithms favored sensationalism. Whether a user clicked on a link because they were curious, horrified, or engaged was immaterial; the system saw that the post was being widely read and it promoted it more widely across users’ Facebook pages.

Facebook and systems like it enable and reward the worst instincts in humans: violence, sarcasm, bullying, lust etc.

““It is time to break up Facebook,”” - Hughes, a co founder of Facebook

Breaking up Facebook is an interesting concept, but the problem isn’t Facebook but every internet service like it that sells your data to advertisers.

Even if the company undergoes a radical transformation in the coming years, that change is unlikely to come from within. The algorithm that serves as Facebook’s beating heart is too powerful and too lucrative. And the platform is built upon a fundamental, possibly irreconcilable dichotomy: its purported mission to advance society by connecting people while also profiting off them. It is Facebook’s dilemma and its ugly truth.

This quote is from the conclusion. I’ve read some reviews of this book and they were disappointed there were no solutions to the problem of Facebook. This isn’t that type of book. This is a journalists look at Facebook behind the scenes of it’s many, many missteps from 2015-2020. If you want to read more about how to fix the problem of Facebook, which is really just a symptom of surveillance capitalism, I would really recommend you read ““The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”” by Shoshana Zuboff, and ““Privacy is Power”” by Carissa Véliz.

Also, #DeleteFacebook everybody. Stop feeding the beast.

PS Friendface works along the same lines as a cold or a terrible plague"" [1 min video from the IT Crowd]

Rating: ★★★★

Book #79 in my #ReadingChallenge2021

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