The dark side of the internet revolution

Cover of Move Fast and Break ThingsMove Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, And Amazon Cornered Culture And Undermined Democracy
by Jonathan Taplin
Published by Pan Macmillan, £18.99
(Buy at Amazon)

The internet was supposed to smash monopolies and democratise business. The reality is very different, says academic, writer and film producer Jonathan Taplin in a new analysis of the dark side of the digital revolution. This “bracing, unromantic account” of “how the internet was captured” argues that major internet firms such as Amazon, Facebook and Google are “enormously powerful corporations that move fast and break things, while minimising their tax bills and shirking the responsibilities that come with their media power”, says John Naughton in The Guardian.

“Many elements of Taplin’s case are familiar,” says Nick Romeo in The Chicago Tribune: “Facebook’s covert experiments in manipulating the emotions of hundreds of thousands of users, Amazon’s atrocious treatment of workers at its distribution centres and Google’s cavalier disregard for copyright laws” have been “well documented”.

However, Taplin goes beyond familiar critiques in making an effective argument that “without changes to legislation, corporate behaviour and consumer values, the oligarchic dreams of a few billionaires could reshape the country even more than they already have”.