Join getAbstract to access the summary!


Join getAbstract to access the summary!


Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

Penguin Press,

15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Facebook may be free, but it costs society, Roger McNamee says, because its ad-based model erodes privacy.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Bold
  • Hot Topic


Silicon Valley veteran Roger McNamee argues for tightening government regulation of Facebook and other social media platforms. He maintains that Facebook’s ad-based business model erodes privacy, threatens democracy and degrades “public discourse.” He writes that Facebook was a conduit for Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and a tool of violence against minorities in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Now, he reports, since Facebook avoided price-based antitrust prosecution, it appears unimpeded by regulatory constraints. McNamee’s alarming account will intrigue readers who wonder if social media is a public threat and, if so, how society and policymakers should respond. 


Facebook embraced its motto: “Move fast and break things.”

Facebook, a social media giant, became the fourth-most-valuable company in the United States through its power to track users and persuade them to modify their behavior. The US government took antitrust action to limit the power of IBM and Microsoft when they, respectively, dominated the markets for mainframe and personal computers. In fact, by the time Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004, the US government had been regulating the technology industry with a light touch for more than 20 years. Facebook embraced its motto, “Move fast and break things,” but failed to anticipate the unintended damage its advertising business model would cause. 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made privacy a low priority.

Zuckerberg essentially decides what Facebook does, right or wrong, and his decisions have global implications. He closely controls Facebook, which follows a centralized decision-making process, thanks in part to the operational simplicity of the company. Facebook owns several popular social media platforms...

About the Author

Roger McNamee co-founded successful venture, crossover and private equity funds during his 34-year career as a Silicon Valley investor.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

Customers who read this summary also read