Facebook | Steven Levy

Summary of: Facebook: The Inside Story
By: Steven Levy


In ‘Facebook: The Inside Story’, noted journalist Steven Levy delves deep into the journey of Facebook, from being a simple website to becoming a tech behemoth that plays a profound role in modern society. With extraordinary access to Facebook’s key leaders, including founder Mark Zuckerberg, Levy chronicles the intricate dynamics of power and ambition that shaped the platform. Readers can expect a captivating overview of the critical moments and choices within the company’s history, Zuckerberg’s mindset and the cultural shifts taking place within Facebook. The book also provides an insightful exploration of how Facebook has deeply influenced privacy, data-sharing, advertising, and political landscapes.

Facebook’s Evolution Under Mark Zuckerberg’s Rule

Wired editor Steve Levy’s “Facebook: The Inside Story” presents an objective and in-depth view of the tech giant’s evolution, from a friendly website to a titan bulldozing anything in its way, including democracy. Levy’s extensive research and unprecedented access to Facebook’s leaders reveal how Mark Zuckerberg’s idealism became intertwined with his desire for domination. This book distinguishes itself from other books about Facebook by presenting a comprehensive and unbiased account of the firm’s history, providing readers with a rich overview of the internet’s influence and Facebook’s various manifestations.

The Accidental Billionaire

Levy recounts how Mark Zuckerberg turned a love of computer projects into a $98 million dollar company with the creation of Facebook. At just 12 years old, Zuckerberg transformed the board game, Risk, into a computer game. As a Harvard student, he launched the website “thefacebook” and sought out to conquer other schools amidst online competitors. Despite leaving school to work with Napster and Plaxo founder Sean Parker, Zuckerberg’s company continued to thrive with 80% of users logging on daily, making him a billionaire almost overnight.

Facebook’s Journey

Levy’s book reveals how Facebook’s evolution unfolded with Zuckerberg’s commitment to connect the world. The platform’s users protested against sharing their data on the site, but it never decreased Facebook’s site traffic. Zuckerberg’s refusal to sell to Yahoo! demonstrates his dedication to keeping the platform independent.

The Rise and Fall of Facebook Platform

In 2007, Facebook launched its Platform, allowing developers access to user data. The move was controversial, and though Zynga’s Farmville drew 80 million players and accounted for 20% of Facebook’s income, the notification spam overwhelmed users. Additionally, Zuckerberg went back on his promises about user data, sharing it with companies for ad revenues and useful data. This move proved to be the most damaging episode for Facebook, violating user trust and causing long-term consequences.

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