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Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,442 ratings  ·  272 reviews
The story of how a noted tech venture capitalist, an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg and investor in his company, woke up to the serious damage Facebook was doing to our society and set out to try to stop it.

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 howle
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  1,442 ratings  ·  272 reviews

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Morgan Blackledge
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh man I’m so cranky right now.

I should not be writing while I’m in this mood.

But Zucked has me all worked up.

So here goes.....

I hate Facebook.

I super fucking hate it.

But I used to love it back when it first started.

It was so AWESOME to reconnect with the friends you lost touch with, learn about their accomplishments and foibles, share memories and see how old they got.

And then everyone’s mom was on it, and you couldn’t talk about th
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating account from an insider on facebook. A few points I took away after reading this:

1. Facebook responds to every problem with a tech fix. The world is bugs to be fixed to "Zuck."

2. Facebook will sacrifice everything for increased growth and connection

3. Facebook knows their potential for harm and they seem not bothered by it

4. Facebook should not have so much power over our lives

5. This is the tip of the iceberg. We can bring down facebo
Gayle Fleming
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I know. I know. You have nothing to hide so you don't care if your personal data is collected. The benefits you believe you derive from the big three internet platforms—Facebook, Google and Amazon far outweigh the information they collect about you. Well, dream on sucker. Seriously. This book is frightening in the way it explains how our personal data is monetized, manipulated and distributed in nefarious and unscrupulous ways.

My eyes have been opened and I will never view Facebook as a benign
Michael Perkins
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing


This astounding two-parter by Frontline is a must-watch for those interested in the FB debacle.


"Its first iteration, Facemash, invited Harvard students to compare photos of female classmates — photos Zuckerberg stole f
Lane Erickson
Mar 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
astounding amount of filler; most of the book reads like a plea from the author to be taken seriously, where this is not necessary. the content could have been condensed to 30-45 pages without losing anything. not much to think about, at least if you are already familiar with tech
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Alright so there's a lot of important information about Facebook and the digital corporatocracy in this book and it is worth reading for that and I appreciate the author's attempt to alert people to the dangers of the big data industry and social media in particular (oh hai Goodreads).

I also get that this guy isn't an author, so some slack is due. But Jesus Christ buddy, I get it. You know Bono. You've been backstage at Grateful Dead shows. You're like, totally a normal music-loving rock and ro
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Be scared. Be very VERY scared about what Facebook (and Google and Amazon, et al.) are doing to our democracy - and our brains and how we are living our lives in general. This is one of THE scariest - and most historically important - books I've read in the last decade. I believe this book should be required reading for all Americans, though of course that'll never happen because - well, it's all explained in the book.

I've got to sit and ingest it all before I write a longer review,
Juarez  Poletto Jr.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Important message but terrible delivery!

I had two major problems with this book, first, it bored me to death, it compensates the lack of content and new facts to the story by repeating itself over and over.

The second one, which made me abandon the book on epilogue, was that the fact mentioned about Brazil lastest election is incorrect, that's even worse, as I started to question everything else on the book.

Anyway, very, very important message, just wait for a better book
Gary Singh
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here is the cover story I wrote about Zucked in Metro Silicon Valley:
Contains an introduction and interview with the author.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: media
"My trust in Facebook has been misplaced."

"The algorithms choose posts calculated to press emotional buttons because scaring users or pissing them off increases time on site."

"Facebook is the fourth most valuable company in America and its value stems from its mastery of surveillance and behavioral modification."

"Google put a fence around half of a public park and started commercializing it."

"User privacy has become a pawn to be traded to accelerat
Peter Mcloughlin
Facebook and social media is something unprecedented in business and ordinary life. Namely, it is the melding of the two. People use platforms like Facebook to connect with people in our social circles both intimate and mere acquaintances. This is no mere billboard for social interaction but a tool to leverage our close and far social connection in ways that can turn a profit. It tracks who we are close to and pops messages that algorithms choose at us from our friends. This is not only a highly ...more
Willip Chen
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
When you hear of someone who reasserts how Russia colluded, through a social media medium, to help Trump win the presidency you question everything else that comes from their 'research'. More baseless opinion that has already been debunked than anything nuance...don't waste your time with this book unless you're an extreme left-winger who likes to be surrounded by more alternate sensationalized news.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
More proof of the damage happening via Facebook. Of course I am posting a review of a book about the dangers of social networks on a social network site. Anyway I can hope more of this information gets out in the world.
Julie Suzanne
Abandoned the book at 10%. I don’t know that I have ever been so bored reading anything ever. So much talk about portfolios, investments, funds, his career path, technology and engineering jargon that I didn’t understand, etc. I’m curious about his Consumer action plan, but I’m not willing to put up with this narrative to get to that point.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The bad: repetitive, change in tone goes from casual friend to distant tech billionaire investor, and some dings to his credibility. While McNamee comes clean about his connections, decisions and involvements without trying to ''pick a side'' per se, at the end of the day it can be hard to read this entire book and find out that not only is he still ON Facebook, he still OWNS loads of shares in Facebook.

I figured based on everything he says here, the least he could do is cash out and
I would recommend skipping/skimming the first two chapters... Chapter 1 is really mostly about the authors background of white privilege, comfort and wealth to explain why he is qualified to speak to the ills of Facebook. Chapter 2 is basically an explanation of how the Internet came to be. So the first chapter I didn't care to know and the second chapter I already know.

The meat starts with chapter 3 I guess, and the genesis of Facebook. But honestly most of this book is just McNamee
Rhett Garber
An important message, but really repetitive. Too much filler material.
Amar Pai
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
If you want to kick off Facebook without being all dramatic about it, do what Raphey recommends-- unfollow EVERYONE. I did this and now I never check Facebook cos there are no updates to see! You have to do it manually-- they don't allow you to unfollow in bulk, because they don't want you to do this. It took me a while. I unfollowed literally everyone, including my mom. (Don't worry Amma I still search your name once in a while to stay abreast)

FB has limited utility for sharing phot
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, but I should have realized after hearing the author interviewed on a few podcasts that it would be a dud. On the podcasts the author is mostly self promoting, does a lot of name dropping, comes across as pompous and omniscient. And mostly the book is the same- its a lot of story telling about the author and his friends, mini biographies of influential people and how they uncover their theories and meet with congress etc.

That said, there is some good content in he
C. Patrick G. Erker
I bought a copy of this book ahead of an event with McNamee at the Commonwealth Club. As often happens, the book found its way to my bookshelf but not to my hands as soon as I would have liked. But I found the book available on Libby as an audiobook as read by the author, and with a few hours on a bachelor party weekend that required two five hour flights and two 2.5 hour drives in two days, I had plenty of time to plow through it.

The book is a must-read for those who care about the
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting book about the problems Facebook, Twitter and Google have created and how the government really needs to regulate them now. They have become so huge, that they can control the internet and buy up start ups that attempt to compete with them. Facebook owns Instagram and What's App too. Problems have been caused throughout the world such as the Royhinga in Myanmar and the presidential election in the US as well as BREXIT in the UK. This book made it clearer to me why there is concern ...more
Steve Peifer
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
There are some good things in this book. I really didn’t understand filter bubbles before, and it was revelatory. The author is clearly smart, and he seems to be the Forest Gump of technology; his fingerprints can be found all over.

Facebook is the result of the marriage of naivety, arrogance and surrounding yourself with people who think you can do no wrong. Zuckerberg has the smartest people on the planet working tirelessly to make you want to click on ads; that is where their resou
Jeffrey Powanda
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Good book for Facebook haters like me, but I'm not optimistic about McNamee's proposed solutions (aggressive antitrust action and government regulation). In fact, I'm surprised McNamee, a multimillionaire Silicon Valley investor with elite friends, didn't simply fund a new social network platform based on humane design principles, user control, and GDPR-compliant data protection. Call it "Zucked."

I would abandon Facebook and switch to Zucked in a heartbeat. Do it, McNamee.

Pamela N.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
People have, at times, accused me of believing in conspiracies, or seeing patterns that do not exist, only to have the NY Times break a story, or an author publish an expose,' which inevitably explains more thoroughly what I had observed.

Roger McNamee wrote the book that explains the phenomenon of the social media effect, and gives it's history, and describes what it means to all of us. And he does so in an interesting, and although wordy, page-turning manner. I felt compelled to read this book
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good some bad

If the author could have focused on Facebook and google I would have given him a 5 but his politics were obvious throughout the book. It’s unfortunate that everything devolves into bashing those with whom you disagree. It tainted the book
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Old man yells at TV. Russians hacked democracy. We need regulation because people might read things that are bad. We also need free speech but we need it to be censored free speech because feelings could be hurt.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is eye opening. It transformed my overall suspicion over social media's lack of transparency and accountability into an opinion backed up by facts and data. It is both fascinating and disturbing to have an inside look on these companies, especially Facebook, coming from someone who was an early investor and enthusiast, and later surrounded himself with first-degree info on them. The main takeaways concerning the impact of filter and preference bubbles on user behavior, Facebook's modus ...more
Kressel Housman
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book right after seeing the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack,” and though it is proof that I’ve been as dumbed down by visual and social media as both the book and the film say we all are, I did get more out of the movie. Both cover the very important issue of how social media in general and Facebook in particular are used to manipulate us so that the rich gain power and democracy declines. The book has led me to add other books to my to-read list, most specifically The Attention ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Could have been edited down to half its length, but still a worthwhile read due to the author's strange position as both tech investor and music-loving hippie. For example, who knew Nancy Pelosi took impromptu meetings backstage at Grateful Dead concerts? Also, delete Facebook.
Jason Cihelka
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s so exciting to see lots of authors exploring the topic of “how social media is harming society”. Zucked gives a very in-depth look at Facebook (and other social media platforms), and how their business models depend on compromising our privacy and stealing our attention. It provides great commentary on recent news such the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Russian meddling in the US election, and the founding of the Center for Humane Technology.

While I believe the ideas and facts in
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“Being a citizen is an active state; being a consumer is passive.” 4 likes
“One business practice I want to eliminate is the use of microtargeting in political advertising. Facebook, in particular, enables advertisers to identify an emotional hot button for individual voters that can be pressed for electoral advantage, irrespective of its relevance to the election. Candidates no longer have to search for voters who share their values. Instead they can invert the model, using microtargeting to identify whatever issue motivates each voter and play to that. If a campaign knows a voter believes strongly in protecting the environment, it can craft a personalized message blaming the other candidate for not doing enough, even if that is not true. In theory, each voter could be attracted to a candidate for a different reason. In combination with the platforms’ persuasive technologies, microtargeting becomes another tool for dividing us. Microtargeting transforms the public square of politics into the psychological mugging of every voter.” 2 likes
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