In Antisocial Media, Siva Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site hacked together by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging. It's an account of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit, and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems.
[A] full and rigorous accounting of Facebook’s sins. Much of the criticism will be familiar to anyone who has been following the news about the company. What distinguishes the book is Vaidhyanathan’s skill in putting the social media phenomenon into a broader context — legal, historical and political ... Vaidhyanathan’s criticism is sharp but even-handed. He debunks some of the more extreme claims about the influence of social media on public opinion ... Antisocial Media is not a hopeful book... [and] scholarly in tone.
[An] excellent critique ... a clear analysis of the social harm that [Facebook] is fostering. For this we need good, informed critiques such as this book. Given Facebook’s dominance, it will be a long haul [to political will], but then, as the Chinese say, the longest journey begins with a single step. Professor Vaidhyanathan has just taken it.
[A] structured response to the behemoth that is Facebook ... [Vaidhyanathan's] fantastic style using heavy-sounding chapters are permeated by the light touches of how fun it is to use Facebook... The result is an analytically satisfying work that’s aware of how real people use the popular platform.