TECHNOLOGY

Facebook: The Inside Story

Blue Rider. Jan. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9780735213159. $30. TECH
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Journalist Levy (In the Plex), known for previous technology corporate histories, turns his sights on the social media platform Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp. Covering Facebook’s origination and initial growth, much of which is depicted in Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires (adapted into the film The Social Network), Levy explores the past decade of corporate acquisitions, new social features, and a culture of "move fast, break things." Many employees and division heads are interviewed or profiled, but the main arc remains focused on the successes and missteps of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. Though the author's access to these two executives is touted as the book's selling point, Levy relates events in a personable but detached tone that steers clear  of hagiography, critique, or even the inside scoop.
VERDICT The value of this book lies in its putting together all the pieces of Facebook's privacy troubles, algorithms, and the Cambridge Analytica affair, elsewhere leaked, reported, or divulged in Congressional hearings.

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