Facebook: The Inside Story

by Steven Levy

560 pages, ★★★★☆
Finished on 12th of October, 2020, buy here.

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Facebook, the product. Shortly before the company was in its infancy, a bunch of friends and I made our first steps at coding something reminding of an online social network of that sort and ran into similar problems that Zuckerberg had at the beginning. Obviously, the paths quickly diverged enormously. While the first half of the book is recounting basic facts like “and then Zuckerberg put person x into position y, then he bought company z”, the second half of this extensive book is captivating. 

I’m glad I didn’t discard the book after a months long break stuck between both parts. The main point we can observe when looking at what happened in the world since Facebook hosts a third of the world’s communications, is the question: Is it worth it? How many live streamed massacres, how much foreign interference into world leader elections, how many millions of leaked personal profiles fallen into the hands of shady people – did you know Steve Bannon was part of the Cambridge Analytica disaster? –, how much abuse of our trust for the gains of ultra-capitalists, how much daily viral News Feed negativity does humankind want to endure in exchange for being “truly connected”?

Right now, my answer is: How about we just write down the phone numbers and email addresses of our friends to stay connected.

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