THE BOY KINGS by Katherine Losse


A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network
Email this review


An account of the early days of Facebook from a former employee, who examines how the social network's origins match up with the Internet behemoth of today.

Though he claims that “privacy is dead,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg guards his own privacy closely, insisting that seamless sharing benefits humanity. He apparently hasn't taken umbrage with this book, from Facebook's “51st employee.” Losse joined the company in 2005 as one of the first customer-service representatives, fielding a wide variety of questions and answering outraged letters demanding an explanation of the privacy settings. In her memoir, the author dutifully chronicles the machinations of Zuckerberg and company as they codified their boss’ vision. Losse depicts the offices as “frat-house”–style environs, with the all-important programmers on one floor and everybody else—in the author’s understanding, the vastly less important workers—on another. Seeing an opportunity, she worked on preparing editions of Facebook for other countries; when told not to by her manager, she went ahead and did it anyway, noting later that the atmosphere at Facebook simultaneously encouraged the establishing of control and the dismantling of control. Despite some genuine insights into the nature of the network, the narrative is hampered by the dull chronicles of the author’s personal life. For example, ruminations on a pseudo-romance with a programmer named "Thrax" add little to the story. When Losse shares that she "was happy to hear that Britney Spears was nice" from Spears' former personal security guard, the book begins to feel like Facebook itself—some useful, interesting parts overwhelmed by unrelated news of little interest.

An uneven look at the early years of Facebook.

Pub Date: June 26th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-6825-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2012


NonfictionHATCHING TWITTER by Nick Bilton
by Nick Bilton
FictionMOTHER OF INVENTION by Caeli Wolfson Widger
by Caeli Wolfson Widger
NonfictionTALKING BACK TO FACEBOOK by James P. Steyer
by James P. Steyer