BOOK REVIEW: ‘Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness’ Is A Must

By Will M 

Newton Lee’s book, Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness, is a great book for social media experts, offering a comprehensive look at Facebook in the context of social media, and covering privacy well.

Facebook Nation is full of facts, stories, and quotes that will give you plenty to talk about with clients and co-workers. You can open any page of this book and read something that is interesting and worth knowing about social media.

Did you know that a dog named Boo has 4.4 million likes on Facebook, and that Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s own dog, Beast, trails with only 575,000?

Want to read a quick summary of Facebook’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and the FTC’s eight-count complaint against the social network for repeated privacy violations?

Would you like to have a “Facebook timeline” that gives the history of Facebook’s funding rounds, privacy blunders, milestones, and product launches in a quick, five-page summary?

Facebook Nation reads like a giant compilation of well written blog posts, covering tons of information you want to know quickly.

The book is also surprisingly current, covering Facebook’s initial public offering (May 2012), app center (May 2012), and Facebook Exchange (June 2012)

You don’t need to read cover-to-cover: Just pick it up occasionally and quickly learn about important issues you may have missed.

Social Networks And Privacy

Facebook Nation explains privacy issues related to social media in great detail.

Facebook’s every privacy blunder is explained clearly — Facebook Beacon, FTC privacy complaints, deleted photos that aren’t really deleted, etc., are all covered.

Mobile applications and social media’s privacy implications are explored in detail, as well. The chapters on facial-recognition technology, “ambient social apps” collecting data on you constantly, and other insights about your “digital footprint” will give you plenty to think about.

Privacy blunders of other companies are in here, too. Apple’s Carrier IQ/iPhone shocker, Google’s Street View data-gathering scandal, and Path grabbing your iPhone contacts are all covered.

Most news items on privacy you’ve heard about but might not have read up are in the book in an easily digestible form.

What Is Most Unique About This Book?

Facebook Nation is the most thoroughly researched book I have seen about Facebook.

Chapters are full of useful facts and data points. The author has 30 to 200 Web link references to where he got his information at the end of each chapter. These links are fascinating — everything from the source of the Scott McNealy’s quote, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it,” to SocialTimes’ coverage from our own Devon Glenn.

Facebook Nation is a must have for the social media expert’s bookshelf. The wealth of facts contained in the book make it worth buying, and anyone active in the social space should be aware of the privacy considerations related to what they are building.