Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Move Fast and Break Things

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Move Fast and Break Things

How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

Little, Brown US,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Digital technology has crippled the arts, politics and the economy. What’s next?

Editorial Rating



Everyone knows the Internet and digital technology markedly changed the world, but former USC Annenberg Innovation Lab director Jonathan Taplin reports that many people don’t realize how sweeping, negative and dangerous these changes have been. The Internet and associated digital technologies – such as social media and pirated creative offerings cause profound and fundamental changes in culture, politics and the economy. What’s more, Taplin charges the leaders of many major technology companies with not fundamentally believing in democracy or government. He explains how society reached this crossroads and analyzes what’s at stake. While the opinions are those of the author, getAbstract recommends his articulate, impassioned essay to anyone interested in digital culture, liberty, equality or technological change.


The Economic and Political Battle 

The Internet dramatically changed politics and has had a corrupting effect on democracy in the United States. Some 44% of Americans get most of their news from Facebook, but many stories on social media are planted or falsified. That problem occurs across social media, including on Twitter, which President Donald Trump leveraged in the 2016 election.

In several industries, a few firms now control most of the market. In that way and others, the Internet also has fundamentally transformed the US and global economies and fueled an unprecedented concentration of wealth. For example, now only three companies run 99% of American drugstores. 

Such concentrations of commercial ownership have led to a radical imbalance in power. Many leaders of tech corporations believe in libertarian ideologies, and implicitly or explicitly oppose democracy. Many think government action is ineffective, at best, and evil, at worst. 

The United States is at a crossroads. It must become more ethical and democratic. For that to happen, people...

About the Author

Writer, producer and documentary film maker Jonathan Taplin is director emeritus of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Learners who read this summary also read