Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in a riveting, behind-the-scenes exposé that offers the definitive account of Facebook’s fall from grace.
Once one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories, for the past five years, Facebook has been under constant fire, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users’ data, allowing the spread of fake news, and the amplification of dangerous, polarising hate speech.
Critics framed the narrative as the irreconcilable conflict between the platform’s lofty mission to advance society by bringing people together while also profiting off of them. The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex.
Drawing on their unrivalled sources, Frenkel and Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company, its growing political influence as well as its skirmishes with privacy groups and the FTC, to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly but an inevitability – this is how the platform was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Each has stood by as their technology is co-opted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable.
[Frenkel and Kang] have produced the ultimate takedown via careful, comprehensive interrogation of every major Facebook scandal. An Ugly Truth provides the kind of satisfaction you might get if you hired a private investigator to track a cheating spouse: it confirms your worst suspicions and then gives you all the dates and details you need to cut through the company’s spin. ― New York Times
About the Author
Sheera Frenkel covers cybersecurity from San Francisco. Previously, she spent over a decade in the Middle East as a foreign correspondent, reporting for BuzzFeed, NPR, The Times and McClatchy Newspapers.
Cecilia Kang covers technology and regulatory policy out of Washington. She joined the New York Times in 2015 after ten years covering technology and business at the Washington Post.