Quotes from Taplin, “Move Fast and Break Things”

From the left corner (those precious moments when a broken clock is right): Taplin, Jonathan. Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, 2017. The quotes are from the Kindle edition. Emphasis is mine.

The anonymity that Twitter provides is a shield that brings out the worst in humans. (p. 217)

Even Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt (and his coauthor Jared Cohen), acknowledged this when they wrote [in 2013], “We believe that modern technology platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, are even more powerful than most people realize, and our future world will be profoundly altered by their adoption and successfulness in societies everywhere.” (p. 11)

As former secretary of labor Robert Reich wrote in 2015, “Big Tech has been almost immune to serious antitrust scrutiny, even though the largest tech companies have more market power than ever. Maybe that’s because they’ve accumulated so much political power.” (pp. 22-23)

The privacy issue was reignited in early 2014, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had conducted a massive social-science experiment on nearly seven hundred thousand of its users. … As it turned out, the experiment was very “successful” in that it was relatively easy to manipulate users’ emotions, but the backlash from the blogosphere was horrendous. “Apparently what many of us feared is already a reality: Facebook is using us as lab rats, and not just to figure out which ads we’ll respond to but to actually change our emotions,” wrote Sophie Weiner on AnimalNewYork.com. (pp. 153-154)

Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google employee … after he was freed from jail and escaped Egypt: “I once said, “If you want to liberate a society, all you need is the Internet.” I was wrong. I said those words back in 2011, when a Facebook page I anonymously created helped spark the Egyptian revolution.” (pp. 221-222)

And as any parent of a teenager who sleeps with a smartphone will agree, one hardly needs to be awake to interface with Google or Facebook. We continue to surrender more of our private lives believing in the myth of convenience bequeathed to us by benign corporations. (p. 12)

When the police actually found some of the worst of [the Gamergate] Zoe’s harassers, they couldn’t arrest them because they were only thirteen years old. (p. 221)