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What’s the story?

Take your pick: 'dark profiles' that exist on Facebook before you even create them, what really happened after Trump got elected or the incomprehensible demands Mark Zuckerberg made of his fans. All of them are among the jaw-dropping revelations from Steven Levy’s new book, Facebook: The Inside Story, which is released today.

What’s the book?

When Facebook announced that 1 billion people had signed up to use the social network, journalist Levy smelled a story. 'I realised that this is something utterly new, enabled by technology and whatever this company did,' he told NPR. 'And I had to write about it and explain how that happened and what it meant and how they dealt with it.' 

What Levy perhaps didn’t anticipate was that he would spend the next three years lurking inside Facebook’s headquarters, undertaking interviews with everyone from former employees to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Zuckerberg himself. Along the way, far more remarkable things happened than the billionth sign-up: Donald Trump’s campaign team used Facebook to enable his victory, the horrifying effects of a Russian disinformation campaign were revealed and the Cambridge Analytica scandal made everyone reconsider how they use social media.

Facebook: The Inside Story documents all of this from within the office walls. The Times has called it 'the best on Facebook yet'. And as for those armpits? Levy’s meticulous detail includes the moment a communications exec blow-dries Zuckerberg before his speaking appearances to eliminate anxiety sweat.

Footnote:

Part of the reason why Facebook were so relaxed about Trump’s team ploughing considerably more funds than Hilary Clinton’s team into their social media campaign was because they never thought he could win. When he did, Levy recounts, 'people were in tears'.

  • Facebook

  • 'Levy portrays a tech company where no one is taking responsibility for what it has unleashed' Financial Times

    'This fascinating book reveals the imperial ambitions of Facebook's founder' James Marriott, Sunday Times

    'The inside story of how Facebook went from idealism to scandal' Laurence Dodds, Telegraph

    Today, Facebook is nearly unrecognizable from the simple website Zuckerberg's first built from his dorm room in his Sophomore year. It has grown into a tech giant, the largest social media platform and one of the biggest companies in the world, with a valuation of more than $576 billion and almost 3 billion users. There is no denying the power and omnipresence of Facebook in daily life. And in light of recent controversies surrounding election-influencing fake news accounts, the handling of its users' personal data and growing discontent with the actions of its founder and CEO, never has the company been more central to the national conversation.

    Based on years of exclusive reporting and interviews with Facebook's key executives and employees, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Steven Levy's sweeping narrative digs deep into the whole story of the company that has changed the world and reaped the consequences.

  • Buy the book

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