Best of The Month – Zucked
Editor | On 09, Oct 2019
“Move Fast, Break Things”. The Facebook corporate motto. An, as it turns out, iconic example of reaping what you sow. A strategy that Roger McNamee amply demonstrates, not only allowed the most rapid rise of any corporate entity ever, but also the simultaneous destruction of democracy, facts, critical thinking and innovation. Not to mention the death of thousands of innocent victims and irreparable emotional harm to countless others. Yes, folks, roll-up, roll-up for the anti-Zuckerberg Festival season.
I originally thought this book was going to be a hatchet job. Whenever any entity gets too big, someone is bound to come along and find an audience willing to have a pop at the tall poppy. But no, McNamee tells a compelling story that gets validated along the way by some of the smartest brains on the planet.
Move Fast, Break Things, Apologise, Repeat. Mark Zuckerberg is revealed as a supremely smart, well-intentioned, but ultimately supremely naïve individual. A man who, alongside COO, Sheryl Sandberg, utterly dominates the Facebook culture. Step one, recruit young, hungry and equally naïve coders, get them to buy into your ‘connect the world’ vision (in a manner strikingly similar to the Hitler Youth of the 1930s). Step two, set in place success metrics that ensure everyone does anything that accrues more of the population to spend more and more of their time giving Facebook their most personal data. Step three, illegally sell that data to anyone that potentially helps achieve step two goals. Step four remain utterly naïve when ‘bad actors’ begin to abuse said personal data. Step five, apologise. Step six, refer to Step two. Repeat. Each time apologising to a higher and higher level of authority. And each time – so far – getting away with it. Destroying democracy? Oops. Did I do that? Sorry! Now, let’s see if we can get even more people using Facebook – the problem must be that we haven’t connected enough people yet.
After you’ve read this (essential) book, check out the Carole Cadwalladr TED talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/carole_cadwalladr_facebook_s_role_in_brexit_and_the_threat_to_democracy?language=en) to get a deeper insight into how the naivety played out in the Brexit story.
Then, assuming you agree with McNamee (and Cadwalladr), get yourself off Facebook. Then tell all your friends to do the same.
Tell them all to send Zuck a copy of ‘Law Of Unintended Consequences 101’.
As Zuck knows, bad news spreads at least seven time faster than good. Especially in such a frictionless environment as Facebook.