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Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  287 ratings  ·  56 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 howled with
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Penguin Press
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  287 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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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 facebook thru regulation and the problem will still ex
Michael Perkins
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 from online student housing directories — for the high cause of determining who was hotter. Yes, the world’s fourth most valuable company can trace its origins to the frustrated miso
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
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
Gary Singh
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Words coming soon ...
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.
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 accelerate growth."

"Facebook allows users to connect to o
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 resources were em
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.

But maybe McNamee isn't
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 compesate the lack of content and new facts to the story by repeating itself over and over.

The second one, which made me to abandon the book on epilogue, was the fact mentioned about Brazil last election is incorrect, which made me question everything else on the book.

Anyway, very, very important message, just wait for a better book about the subject
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
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
Rhett Garber
An important message, but really repetitive. Too much filler material.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Zucked is a sobering and important book for the stand it takes in calling out Facebook and major Internet platforms in how they are addictive by design, are eroding our privacy, and are susceptible to manipulation by bad actors threatening democracy.

I especially appreciated the coverage of filter and preference bubbles and the explanation of how and why modern online platforms can contribute to self-perpetuating beliefs and tribalism.

The author read widely about the subjects covered in the boo
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger McNamee, a player and investor in the tech world for over three decades, makes the case that Facebook, as well as other internet platforms are responsible for not reining in some very bad actors, harming our democracy and changing the world for the worse. He explains how he came to those conclusions and how he believes Facebook and Google, in particular, and internet platforms, in general, are not doing enough to correct the problems and making changes to their business models before irrep ...more
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 perhaps inv
Holly R W
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"Zucked" is Roger McNamee's well researched and well thought out critique of Facebook for its existing practices in the tech industry. Google and Amazon receive their fair share of culpability too. The author does a good job of spelling out exactly how these corporate Goliaths hurt us. As someone who has always had a love-hate relationship with Facebook, for me the book reinforced my own reservations about social media.

Mr. McNamee is an investor and an industry consultant in the tech world. He
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 navel gazin
Zenna Steiger
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
There are some amazing points made in this book. I did feel like Mr. McNamee has a major chip on his shoulder regarding his "relationship" with Mark Zuckerberg. It is understandable, but sometimes his message got lost in his beef.

Today, I just saw an article in the WSJ that Facebook just sued 4 companies (3 in China) for Cyber-squatting. So, maybe things are turning around? It's not going to happen overnight, and I'm still not convinced that government regulation is the answer.

I did take away t
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.
Warren Fretwell
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book should have been "Fu*ked!" It is an investigation of Face Book and its failure to protect our privacy, its encouragement of 3rd parties to use our data without our consent, and its participation in what could be the demise of democracy by enabling the illegitimate ascendancy to the White House by an irresponsible, fascist-leaning con-man.

There is an excellent bibliographic essay at the end which provides a reading list for those who wish to learn more about internet securi
Becky Diamond
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enlightening and thought-provoking.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, but wordy. I wanted to aggressively edit all the instances when the author would restate a concept. Different words, same idea, over and over and over
Ailith Twinning
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
There's some interesting stuff here - but, look, the short version of my critique? He says "Bad Actors" a couple hundred times. It's liberal bullshit. Capitalism is a threat to Democracy. Capitalism is a threat to the world. Capitalism is a threat to our very souls. The problem isn't Facebook, and it's certainly not that Russians exist. I'd love to have a beer with Roger and argue about it, but there's little point in writing a whole lot here. I think he's got the wrong perspective. His facts ar ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author, Roger McNamee, lays out the dangers of social media: such as the breach of privacy used by platforms such as Facebook allowing third party apps to pull a person's data and the data of his or her friends. This book could easily have been 150 pages shorter as there is a lot of repetition, name dropping (he knows Zuck, personally as well as Bono and Nancy Pelosi) and sentences which could have been tighter. That said, this is a good book for those who know little about the dangers of so ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about the execution of this argument. McNamee makes a very compelling case about how Facebook (and Google and Amazon) monetize user data without their knowledge or permission, which has led to some disturbing consequences that we are just now beginning to notice thanks to the 2016 election and Cambridge Analytica. He's careful not to ascribe malevolent intent to FB, but he's adamant about their complacency and hubris in not acting to "fix" the growing breach of trust. His d ...more
Cristi Pitner
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How Facebook went from youngdarling to extremely serious menace

“Zucked,” a mind-blowing book. By Roger McNamee, an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook investor, who wakes up to the serious damage Facebook is doing to our society. It’s a wise, hard-hitting, and urgently necessary account that crystallizes an existential issue. A terrific book that is both soulful memoir and muckraking exposé of social media. Everyone who spends their day staring into screens needs to read his impassioned
Robbie Forkish
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is awkward.

Roger McNamee, the author, was a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, invested very early in Facebook, and introduced Zuck to Sheryl Sandberg. But when after the 2016 election he informed them he thought Facebook had become a danger to democracy, they didn't seem to want to talk about it.

McNamee is a smart guy, and figured out earlier than most that Facebook's unintended consequences were harming public health and enabling any number of bad actors to influence elections (Trump, Brexi
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