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Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook,…
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Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered… (edition 2017)

by Jonathan Taplin (Author)

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Title:Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy
Authors:Jonathan Taplin (Author)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2017), 320 pages
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Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

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I’m not a good reviewer for this book because I am very much Taplin’s enemy, the kind of person he describes as bought off by Google and its lackey the EFF (which opposed SOPA/PIPA in the name of stealing stuff from artists). That’s too bad in a way, because I actually agree with him that the collapse of antitrust enforcement is a huge problem. But the book is a list of everything wrong with the internet, blaming mostly Google and secondarily Facebook for the fallen state of the world, when not all the problems are problems of monopoly—click fraud, for example. This book is not about making actual arguments addressing the counterarguments Google makes about why it’s not a monopoly, or addressing any other counterarguments really. You should read Zeynep Tufekci and Evgeny Morozov instead for sophisticated (but still really mean, for the latter), internet-skeptical arguments that engage with the complicated reality and don’t just whine about how hard it is to get financed in the way that artists were (for half a century) financed. ( )
  rivkat | Jun 15, 2017 |
It's hard to imagine and really understand how fast modern technology has been moving in the past several years. The iPhone, for example, a device millions of people panic about misplacing or being without for 5 minutes, was introduced by Steve Jobs in 2007, the iPad only in 2010 -- merely 7 YEARS AGO. Google, Facebook, and all the other internet mainstays we use on a daily basis, are very, very new technologies.

And yet, the speed at which they have been implemented is rivaled only by the speed at which we willingly give these entities our personal information, which they then use to data mine, sell to other companies (and the government), use for targeted ads, etc. The amount of personal and private information we willingly give to these anonymous mega-giant corporations happens every day, and without much awareness on our part, but they have tremendous influence in our lives. For example, the algorithms Facebook uses fiddle around with what items we see in our newsfeeds, and are curated based on our clicking habits. Though we are free to, we no longer go directly to sources of newspapers and magazines that we used to buy and read by choice; we are directed towards sources that Facebook thinks we will like based on previous internet choices we've made.

This kind of creeping invasiveness into our lives is one of the ideas behind this very informative book by Jonathan Taplin. Although Taplin comes off sounding like a bit of a Luddite, he is actually ringing a warning bell. Coming from the world of entertainment, he laments the closing off of the internet world supposedly to artistic types because of entities like YouTube and pirating, and the taking over of this technology by mega-corporations, specifically Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. In so doing, he says, they have become monopolies, much like the early energy barons of the early 20th century, gobbling up smaller internet start-ups like Instagram and Snapchat. He is also ringing an alarm bell about how we as consumers and citizens have willingly ceded control of our information and our very lives as the conglomerates have demanded more and more information from us. If nothing else, his book should wake us all up to be more vigilant and aware of what is happening to us, and what we are allowing. Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, we don't realize our freedoms and very lives are being boiled away, degree by degree.

Thank you to the author and publisher for a review copy. ( )
  ChayaLovesToRead | Jun 13, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316275778, Hardcover)

Move Fast and Break Things tells the story of how a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs began in the 1990s to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms-Facebook, Amazon and Google-that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.

Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the men who founded these companies, including Peter Thiel and Larry Page: tolerating piracy of books, music and film while at the same time promoting opaque business practices and subordinating privacy of individual users to create the surveillance marketing monoculture in which we now live.

The enormous profits that have come with this concentration of power tell their own story. Since 2001, newspaper and music revenues have fallen by 70%, book publishing, film and television profits have also fallen dramatically. Revenues at Google in this same period grew from $400 million to $74.5 billion. Google's YouTube today controls 60% of the streaming audio business and pays only 11% of the streaming audio revenues. More creative content is being consumed that ever before, but less revenue is flowing to creators and owners of the content.

With the reallocation of money to monopoly platforms comes a shift in power. Google, Facebook and Amazon now enjoy political power on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, which in part explains how such a tremendous shift in revenues from artists to platforms could have been achieved and why it has gone unchallenged for so long.

The stakes in this story go far beyond the livelihood of any one musician or journalist. As Taplin observes, the fact that more and more Americans receive their news, music and other forms of entertainment from a small group of companies poses a real threat to democracy. Move Fast and Break Things offers a vital, forward-thinking prescription for how artists can reclaim their audiences using knowledge of the past and a determination to work together. Using his own half century career as a music and film producer and early pioneer of streaming video online, Taplin offers new ways to think about the design of the World Wide Web and specifically the way we live with the firms that dominate it.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:06:57 -0400)

Tells the story of how a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs began in the 1990s to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms-Facebook, Amazon and Google-that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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