After what seems like an eon in the tech industry, Facebook is still going strong 16 years after its initial launch, despite countless privacy breaches. All while ensuring it stays a cash cow. Author and veteran tech journalist Steven Levy takes us on this journey in Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg, then 19 years old, launched Facebook (then known as thefacebook.com) on 4 February 2004 as an online slam book for Harvard students to communicate with one another. In the year 2020, the vast majority of internet users will have used Facebook in some capacity every single day of their lives.
In the fast-paced world of technology, sixteen years is an eon, but Facebook has managed to weather the storm of privacy scandals and remain a major player. All while making sure it remains a money-making machine.
In Facebook: The Inside Story, veteran tech journalist and Wired editor-at-large Steven Levy traces this development. Never before has a journalist been given such unrestricted access (three years) to the Facebook staff and its founder.
To compile this book, Levy spoke with Zuckerberg nine times. A 530-page tome detailing what is unquestionably the definitive history of Facebook’s development to date is the end result.
Levy has an accessible writing style and doesn’t overuse technical terms to make his point. Even though he has interviewed numerous Valley heavy hitters for this book, you wouldn’t know it. He weaves quotations into the narrative without breaking the flow.
Before Growth Became Zuckerberg’s Top Priority, He Placed a High Value on People’s Privacy.
Zuckerberg’s Initial Emphasis on User Privacy Is One of The Most Striking Features We Are Introduced To. This Platform Would Restrict Access to Only Verified Harvard University Students with A Valid Harvard.Edu Email Address.
During This Time, It Was Common Practice for Internet Users to Conceal Their Identities. Even in The Early 2000s, It Was Frowned upon To Use Your Real Name Online, Much Fewer Post Photos of Yourself. Thefacebook Was Way Ahead of Its Time when It Insisted that Users Sign in With Their Real Identities.
This Emphasis Persisted Well Into Facebook’s Later Years, up Until the Point when The Company Decided to Open up Ap Is (Application Programming Interfaces) to Developers.
Not only Did This Ap Expand Facebook’s Reach Beyond the Site in 2011, but They Also Gave Programmers Access to Users’ Data, a Development Whose Potentially Negative Consequences Wouldn’t Become Apparent until Much Later. but I Am Jumping to Conclusions.
If You’ve Been Keeping up With Facebook Over the Past Two Years, You Know that The Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal in 2018 Exposed the Company’s Disregard for User Data Privacy. as Far as Anyone Could Tell, Facebook Has Never Cared About Its Users’ Privacy.
period. Reading the Original Account of How Zuckerberg Stressed Privacy During Facebook’s Infancy Makes One Wonder What Could Have Become of The Company if Data Privacy Had Been Prioritized from The Start.
Just how Close Would It Come to Being the Three-Billion-Plus User Juggernaut It Is Now? I See No Reason to Assume Anything About Your Answer.
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Social Networking Existed Before Facebook.
Throughout His Telling of Facebook’s Beginnings, Levy Deviates Significantly from The Standard “this Startup Was Created in A Garage” Narrative. It Is the Book’s Most Compelling Section and Provides Much-Needed Context for The Recent Events Surrounding Facebook.
He Has Discussed the Early Ownership Battles with The Winklevoss Twins and The Various Proto-Social Networks of The Time (six degrees, Friendster, My Space, Google-owned Orkut), as well as Zuckerberg’s Hacker Mindset Long Before He Attended Harvard.
Given His Insider Status, Levy Is Able to Sprinkle Numerous Easter Eggs Throughout the Book. Not only Was Zuckerberg Colorblind, but Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom Also Tried Very Hard to Land an Engineering Position at Thefacebook, and Zuckerberg Visited the Same Ashram in India that Young Steve Jobs Had.