An Ugly Truth

An Ugly Truth : Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination

4.02 (4,878 ratings by Goodreads)
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'The ultimate takedown' New York Times

'The problem of Facebook is Zuckerberg. And the question posed by this splendid book is: what are we going to do about him?' Observer

'A comprehensive account . . . drawn from first-hand testimonies. Thoroughly engaging' The Times

'What marks this book out is how it gets under the corporate bonnet . . . to build a picture of astounding corporate arrogance and irresponsibility' Sunday Times

'An explosive new book' Daily Mail


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

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

Critics framed the narrative as the irreconcilable conflict between the platform's lofty mission to advance society by bringing people together while also profiting off of them. The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex.

Drawing on their unrivalled sources, Frenkel and Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company, its growing political influence as well as its skirmishes with privacy groups and the FTC, 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 the platform 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. Each has stood by as their technology is co-opted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 158 x 236 x 38mm | 580g
  • The Bridge Street Press
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1408712717
  • 9781408712719
  • 24,085

Review Text

A comprehensive account . . . drawn from first-hand testimonies. Thoroughly engaging
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Review quote

[Frenkel and Kang] have produced the ultimate takedown via careful, comprehensive interrogation of every major Facebook scandal. An Ugly Truth provides the kind of satisfaction you might get if you hired a private investigator to track a cheating spouse: it confirms your worst suspicions and then gives you all the dates and details you need to cut through the company's spin. * New York Times * A comprehensive account . . . drawn from first-hand testimonies. Thoroughly engaging * The Times * An explosive new book * Daily Mail * A detailed dismantling of what happened at the highest levels of the company as it pursued a policy of deny, deflect and obfuscate. * New Statesman * Better sourced than all of its predecessors in the genre . . . makes for gripping as well as depressing reading. One of the book's striking revelations is that there is more anxiety inside the company than we realised. Many Facebook employees have been anguished, frustrated or angry about what their employer has been doing in its relentless quest for growth. Some have tried to alert their superiors to their concerns. But time and again the bad news hasn't persuaded those bosses because they didn't sync with the overriding imperative of endless corporate growth . . . The problem of Facebook is Zuckerberg. And the question posed by this splendid book is: what are we going to do about him? * Observer, Book of the Week * Drawing on more than 1,000 hours of interviews with hundreds of Facebook associates, [Kang and Frenkel's] fly-on-the-wall expose shows a company that often looks the other way . . . What marks this book out is how it gets under the corporate bonnet, using information from mostly disgruntled former Facebook staff to build a picture of astounding corporate arrogance and irresponsibility. * Sunday Times * The definitive history of what has happened to the social network since its inception . . . a great read * Times Radio * Impeccably researched through interviews with the company's present and former employees, investors and even enemies, [An Ugly Truth] examines how the social network is used to spread disinformation and its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential victory. * Sunday Times, Business Books of the Year *
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About Sheera Frenkel

Sheera Frenkel covers cybersecurity from San Francisco. Previously, she spent over a decade in the Middle East as a foreign correspondent, reporting for BuzzFeed, NPR, The Times and McClatchy Newspapers.

Cecilia Kang covers technology and regulatory policy out of Washington. She joined the New York Times in 2015 after ten years covering technology and business at the Washington Post.
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Rating details

4,878 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 29% (1,429)
4 48% (2,326)
3 19% (950)
2 3% (135)
1 1% (38)
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