An Ugly Truth

Cecilia Kang, Sheera Frenkel

An Ugly Truth



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Best selling journalists Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang retrace the changes that the world has experienced since the dawn of Facebook, following a trail of clues that connect the company's many crises. What emerges from their extensive interviews and research is a story of profound contradictions, of the insatiable pursuit of profit that threatens any dialogue aimed at improving society as a whole and the way people interact with one another. An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination is an in-depth analysis of the influence of the web on the future political landscape.

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Analysis and key concepts


The success that Facebook enjoys today is the result of a corporate history with many dark sides


From a school yearbook to a million subscribers. The very first steps the company takes communicate its intention: growth


Slowly but surely, the company has managed to gather information about the lives of billions of people


From fake news to Russian interference: Facebook becomes a weapon


What was the Cambridge Analytica scandal?


From hate speech to oppressive company dynamics: why more and more employees began to leave Facebook


QAnon is the most recent attempt to use the platform as a weapon, and highlighted the dangers of spreading conspiracy theories


What effects can we expect the social network to have on society in the future?




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Explore the tangled web that symbolises the relationship between big tech companies and the US government.
  • Analyse Facebook’s race to success, with all its contradictions, wins and losses.
  • Understand why social networks could pose a threat to peace and democracy.
  • Find out about the ruthless lengths Mark Zuckerberg went to, in order to become one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Cecilia Kang is an American journalist who writes for the New York Times about tech politics and entrepreneurship. In 2019, she and her colleague, Sheera Frenkel, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for their international bestseller An Ugly Truth.

Sheera Frenkel is a prize-winning technology reporter for the New York Times. During her career, she also spent a decade in the Middle East, working as a foreign correspondent for BuzzFeed, NPR, The Times of London, and McClatchy Newspapers. In 2021, she and her colleague Cecilia Kang published their book, An Ugly Truth, for which they were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Publishing house:

Harper Paperbacks