The Education of An Unlikely Activist

Book - 2019
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"If you had told Roger McNamee even three years ago that he would soon be devoting himself to stopping Facebook from destroying our democracy, he would have howled with laughter. He had mentored many tech leaders in his illustrious career as an investor, but few things had made him prouder, or been better for his fund's bottom line, than his early service to Mark Zuckerberg. Still a large shareholder in Facebook, he had every good reason to stay on the bright side. Until he simply couldn't. ZUCKED is McNamee's intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world's most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing. It's a story that begins with a series of rude awakenings. First there is the author's dawning realization that the platform is being manipulated by some very bad actors. Then there is the even more unsettling realization that Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are unable or unwilling to share his concerns, polite as they may be to his face"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2019
ISBN: 9780525561354
Branch Call Number: 302.30285 MCN 2019-01
Characteristics: 336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Jan 14, 2020

The author has been a financier in the conquering tech wave and only recently has been severely alarmed by the power of companies such as Facebook and Google. He is reasonable and likes and admires many of their accomplishments. McNamee is also detailed in his arguments. These companies can still have your private data and means of persuasion, even if, for instance, you do not use Facebook. The book has some suggestions for remedies, but he admits he is still looking. There is also a very helpful bibliography essay suggesting further reading. He writes clearly, but at times lectures and is repetitive. A better editor may have helped. Just the same, this is a valuable place to start a deeper look at problems with the current molders of society. With the oncoming Internet of Things, they will take another giant step into everyone's consciousness. Your self-driving car will start persuading you to buy things.

Sep 02, 2019

The message is an important warning about personal data collection by Google and Facebook. Our personal information shared with other companies is their source of income. There is no protection, we do not give our consent for data sharing, and can do nothing about it if we use the platforms. I left Facebook quite a while ago subsequent to the 2016 election manipulation and the role of Facebook in the genocide of the Rohinga. I have now changed by browser from google to Duckduckgo which does not collect and share personal data. What we need is government regulation of the internet monopolies of Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As to the book itself, it needed better editing as much of the information was repeated multiple times. Otherwise, the book is a valuable warning especially for the future of our children. Highly recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Aug 15, 2019

Interesting and enlightening read, but no happy ending in sight.
I started dog-earring pages where McNamee made devastating summaries of Facebook’s greed at the expense of civility, selling our data for billion$, or allowing Russia to hijack their platform, etc., etc. I ended up with about 20 pages dog-earred, and gave up.
McNamee—a Silicon Valley investor--has ridden the roller-coaster with FB. He was an early investor, and a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg in FB’s early days. But in the last 4 years McNamee has become one of “Zuck’s” biggest and most astute critics—pointing to his ruthless business model, and his total disregard of moral obligations to FB users—with only a few reluctant apologies and promises to “do better”.
McNamee is especially heated about platforms like FB and Google hoovering up all our data, then selling it to advertisers without our approval. It’s how they make their billions. And it’s hard for us to stop them.

May 22, 2019

This book is mind-numbingly repetitive; nevertheless I recommend it because of the importance of the subject matter. Even if you aren't on Facebook, you're affected by the way Facebook affects users nationally and globally. It's not only about Russian interference; it's about "bad actors" using Facebook in exactly the ways it's designed to be used. And Facebook not only doesn't try very hard to stop them, it denies all culpability.

Apr 13, 2019

I think this would have been more interesting if it was summarized as a magazine article. I got tired at the overuse of “Zuck”, and am I the only one tired of Bono?

Apr 13, 2019

I don't think that there is anything in this that hasn't been covered in the news except what a great guy that he thinks that he is for having been involved. Also his interviews are more interesting than his book.

Mar 31, 2019

I was disappointed. The first half of the book is interesting but the entire second half of the book reads more like a resume for the author being the only one that understands and knows how to fix these privacy issues. If you followed the data breaches and congressional hearings last year there is little new here. OK, we get it - Mark Zuckerberg is a self absorbed very wealthy 33 year old kid that neither understands nor cares about the potential damage to democracy the platform he created has caused and will continue to cause, Sheryl Sandberg is just as culpable, and Google, Amazon and Twitter are also aiding bad actors but no one realizes it because they've all been overshadowed by Facebook's transgressions...

The "filter bubbles" have existed long before Facebook became ubiquitous. A significant segment of the country only tunes to FOX news everyday (or MSNBC) and is fed a continuous stream of biased reporting that only reinforces whatever position management has asserted in order to maximize profits. Before cable TV there were publications that did the same. Isn't this what advertising is all about (think Mad Men)? The issue is not that these one sided information/misinformation vehicles exist, but rather that people are too ignorant to take time to understand opposing viewpoints.

The author does make many valid points having to do with the pitfalls of technology, particularly the rise of mobile communications and its negative anti-social influence on young children. Facebook has made it significantly easier for bad actors and rogue nations to influence democratic institutions, but again if people would just come out of their cocoons and realize much of the information on-line is total fabrication the effect would be minimized. The answer is education. Maybe we need to start teaching children how to identify social media misinformation in grammar school.

Feb 12, 2019

Although I despise this phrase from the description: // . . . how conspiracy theories proliferate online . . .\\ I heard the author in an interview and it sounds like it might be interesting - - the investor/author mentioned how Zuckerberg [a Jewish-American who employs Jewish-Americans] hired an outfit called The Definers to create anti-Jewish conspiracies against George Soros. This reminds me of how one continuously hears previously attributed crimes to so-called // white supremacists \\ which have already been established to have been perpetrated by an African-American reporter fired from The Intercept, and a foreign national, a demented Israeli-Jewish teenager, both of whom called in the vast majority of bomb threats to various Jewish organizations across America awhile back [that Israeli teen called a number of them in the Northwest, included several to the Mercer Island Jewish Community Center here in Seattle].
Although no fan of Soros, for the same reason I am no fan of the Koch brothers, I do find this to be a most despicable action. Makes one wonder if Jeff Bezos was Assanged, given the recent news on the brother of his female friend being the source?!


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May 22, 2019

“As amplifiers of disinformation and hate speech, Facebook, Google, and Twitter have effectively abridged the rights of the peaceful to benefit the angry.” p. 245

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