In this true account, Roger McNamee who worked closely with the FB founder opens up about many issues plaguing the company
Facebook is, perhaps, the best example of how a great idea of connecting with family and friends online can become a catastrophe in just 15 years of its existence. From the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, housing ad bias, the misuse of facial recognition software, frequent users’ data leaks, targetted advertising with tweaked algorithms and so on — Facebook is losing the grip over issues it could have avoided in the first place.
For someone who has been on the inside, this is the story of losing faith in a company he saw growing as he mentored its CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was struggled to take early decisions that made Facebook, Facebook.
Roger McNamee, a famed Silicon Valley fund manager and venture capitalist, mentored Mark during his crucial formative years, helping him with two big decisions — the turning down of Yahoo’s $1 billion deal in 2006 and the hiring of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Zucked is an account where McNamee opens up his heart about how tech platforms like Facebook are taking advantage of users’ trust, how success can breed overconfidence and how the best ideas and intentions can go horribly wrong.
“In the year I know them best, the Facebook team focused on attracting the largest possible audience, not on monetisation. Persuasive technology and manipulation never came up. It was all babies and puppies and sharing with friends,” writes McNamee. Today, Mark is planning to merge its platforms — Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram — into one entity, thus making more money while throwing end-to-end encryption for a toss.
“Zuck and his team did not anticipate that the design choices that made Facebook so compelling for users would also enable a wide range of undesirable behaviours. Facebook first denied their existence, then responsibility for them. Perhaps, it was a reflexive corporate reaction,” laments McNamee.
Although the history of Facebook has been written many times, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe is more relevant as the social media giant faces extreme heat over increasing political interference from nation-state bad actors amid an unabated spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform.
Title: Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe
Author: Roger McNamee
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs 599