An ugly truth : inside Facebook's battle for domination

by Frenkel, Sheera,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 15 Libraries 15 of 15 copies
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Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 006.7 FR
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Brentwood Library Nonfiction 302.30285 Frenkel
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Northern Tier Regional Library Nonfiction 302.30285 FRENK
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Northland Public Library Nonfiction 338.761 F88
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A Book of the Year: Fortune, Foreign Affairs, The Times (London), Cosmopolitan, TechCrunch, WIRED

"The ultimate takedown." - New York Times Book Review

Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in a riveting, behind-the-scenes exposé that offers the definitive account of Facebook's fall from grace.

Once one of Silicon Valley's greatest success stories, Facebook has been under constant fire for the past five years, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users' data, spreading fake news, and amplifying dangerous, polarizing hate speech.

The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex. Leadership decisions enabled, and then attempted to deflect attention from, the crises. Time after time, Facebook's engineers were instructed to create tools that encouraged people to spend as much time on the platform as possible, even as those same tools boosted inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and partisan filter bubbles. And while consumers and lawmakers focused their outrage on privacy breaches and misinformation, Facebook solidified its role as the world's most voracious data-mining machine, posting record profits, and shoring up its dominance via aggressive lobbying efforts.

Drawing on their unrivaled sources, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly but an inevitability--this is how Facebook was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Both have been held up as archetypes of uniquely 21st century executives--he the tech "boy genius" turned billionaire, she the ultimate woman in business, an inspiration to millions through her books and speeches. But sealed off in tight circles of advisers and hobbled by their own ambition and hubris, each has stood by as their technology is coopted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "New York Times reporters Frenkel and Kang debut with a paragon of investigative journalism in this insiders' account of the scandals and toxic culture at social media giant Facebook. Compiling interviews with former and current employees as well as investors, regulators, and lawmakers, the authors offer an unvarnished view of the company's callous business practices, most notably the exploitation of users' data, their "merciless" overthrows of competitors, and the "powerful monopoly" that resulted. They recap headline-grabbing events such as the discovery of Russian hackers' use of the platform and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Less familiar (and more riveting) anecdotes include a contract employee leaking a memo to the press, who was then caught by Facebook's "rat catcher," Sonya Ahuja, and fired, and former vice president of global communications Elliot Schrage threatening a representative from Common Sense Media who was concerned about protecting children from the potential harms of social media. And though CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg refused to be interviewed, both come vividly to life, the latter a "master manager" and advertising guru, the former an operator who's affable in public and ruthless behind the scenes. The result is a work of impeccable research and relentless reporting. (July)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Zuckerberg, Mark, -- 1984-
Sandberg, Sheryl.
Facebook (Firm)
Online social networks -- Social aspects.
Online social networks -- Political aspects.
Publisher New York, NY :Harper,2021
Edition First edition.
Contributors Kang, Cecilia, author.
Language English
Description x, 333 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-320) and index.
ISBN 9780062960672
Other Classic View