by Sara Voigt
An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
Wow! Talk about non-fiction that makes you think AND makes you want to immediately delete all social media accounts and crawl under the covers and never come out--welp, that is what An Ugly Truth did for me.
Kang and Frenkel's examination of Facebook's ethical practices concerning their users and their dissemination of information to their users is both thorough and terrifying. The book is well researched and investigates the role of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandburg and their laser focus on growth at all costs.
I really thought this book was so informative, but it also scared me. It really emphasized to me the cost we, as consumers on the internet, pay to have access to social media sites such as Facebook. It also helps to explain how false news is spread and how we are manipulated by media outlets and organizations on social media.
“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.”
I usually don't put the book description in my reviews when I write them, but this book is full of information, and I felt like it would be a disservice not to give a complete picture of what you can expect. Here is the publisher's description:
"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. "
If you like non-fiction expose-type books, I think you will love this one. If you don't need extra worry in your life, maybe skip it. I am glad I read it, and I thought it was really well done.
(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)
Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.
Loving what you see here? Please comment below (scroll ALL the way down to comment), share this post using the social media buttons below (scroll down for those as well!), and find us on social media to share your thoughts!
Want to support Unabridged?
Check out our Merch Store!
Become a patron on Patreon.
Follow us @unabridgedpod on Instagram.
Like and follow our Facebook Page.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Follow us @unabridgedpod on Twitter.
Check us out on Podbean.
Please note that we a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We also are proud to partner with Bookshop.org and have a curated Unabridged store as well as affiliate links. Finally, we're also honored to be a partner with Libro.fm and proudly use affiliate links to support them and independent bookstores.