Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, two reporters for New Your Times, have compiled years of work from more than 400 interviews with Facebook employees, investors and consultants to produce an internal “status report” for the company. The book has 383 pages and has been available in German since July 2021. It reads like a thriller and special insights for me were the following:

(1) All Facebook developers had access to the complete data (including profile, current location, pictures, new friendships) of all Facebook users for many years.

(2) Some developers have used this to stalk new “dates”, for example. If they were caught, Facebook fired them. However, internal proposals to improve and restrict access rights have long been rejected by Mark Zuckerberg. “Innovation” and “speed” have always been more important than user privacy.

(3) Mark Zuckerberg is really afraid that American regulators will break up Facebook.

(4) The internal relationship of Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg is described very excitingly.

You, the hard-working and super-structured, who transferred the advertising business from Google to Facebook. She also takes care of the administrative areas at Facebook. And he, the “nerd” Zuckerberg, who finds business administration too boring. Who wants to be loved and understood by the world.

(5) I found it very interesting that internally, many employees were always pushing for improvements. However, many improvements would have resulted in users spending less time on Facebook. But less online time means less advertising revenue and less sales. For this reason, Zuckerberg rarely voluntarily had anything changed in the models and algorithms.

Many of Mark Zuckerberg’s companions, including his co-founder, but also the founders of WhatsApp and Instagram, now advocate breaking up Facebook.

What do you know about Facebook?

“Facebook allows you to connect and share content with the people in your life.” says Facebook

But the more you say about yourself on Facebook, share content with others and the longer you stay on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the more Facebook learns about you and others.

I think it’s particularly bad that WhatsApp users regularly upload their entire cell phone phone book to Facebook. Even colleagues, friends and family who don’t even have Facebook access are sucked into the Facebook swamp. The information obtained in this way is used to create profiles of you and others that are as complete as possible.

Well-cut “victim” herds as raw material for paying advertisers (e.g. companies, parties and other interest groups with capital).

What you may not already know about Facebook….

2012 – Facebook conducts secret psychological tests on 700,000 users, Source: The Guardian

2016 – Fake News First – the Trump campaign gets more coverage than “serious” coverage on Facebook in the 2016 US election, Source: Buzzfeed News

2018 – Election rigging – Cambridge Analytica used the data of 50-90 million Americans in 2016 to influence them with pro-Trump advertising; Source: The Guardian

2018 – Even more election rigging – In 2016, a campaign controlled from Russia influenced around 130 million Americans with pro-Trump advertising.

2018 – Facebook incites genocide against Rohinga Muslim minority in Myamar. A campaign by the Rohinga military leads to the Rohinga genocide. Burmese soldiers also post their mass murder updates on Facebook, among other things; Source: New York Times

2021 – Suicide, drugs, human trafficking – Facebook knows that using Instagram and promoting false ideals of beauty is leading to increasing suicide among young girls. Facebook also knows that drug cartels and human traffickers use the portal. In either case, Facebook doesn’t do anything about it; Source: Wall Street Journal

2013 to 2021 – Data theft – Facebook is unable to protect its users’ data. Every year hundreds of millions of Facebook profiles are stolen with email, mobile phone number and payment information; Source: Selfkey

Knowing this alone and without reading the book, one could, like the Guardian book review , conclude:

So the “ugly truth” about Facebook is that it is a tremendously powerful company with a toxic business model run by an autocratic founder bent on world domination…

… Facebook’s problem is Zuckerberg. And the question this great book raises is: what are we going to do about him? (Source: Inside Facebook – The Ugly Truth.)

What can you do about Facebook?

Simply delete your Facebook account – in my Self Defense BaseCamp on digital self-defense you will learn what alternatives there are to WhatsApp and how to get out of the sphere of influence of Instagram and Facebook.