Cover Image: No Filter

No Filter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

An unfiltered (no pun intended) tale about the truth story behind the growth of Instagram and its controversial sale to Facebook, this was such a riveting read.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book.

This book on the history of Instagram was very interesting, and it touched on a lot of the pros/cons I had when I was deciding whether to join the platform as a user. I started skimming it about halfway through though - it just didn't hold my attention well. I do appreciate that the author covered up until 2019, and many books that cover social media and technology usually don't get nearly as close to the present day because things are changing so rapidly. I would recommend this to those that are interested or work in social media, communication, technology, business, etc.
Was this review helpful?
No Filter" covers everything about Instagram, from start to finish -- and by finish I mean when the founders left the company.

We got the full story about the app that changed the world: how it came to be, how Facebook bought it because it was competition, and how Mark Zuckerberg kept the filtered photo app from cannibalizing Facebook -- or at least he tried.

I had no idea there was so much drama surrounding Instagram, or how Facebook was so involved, yet not involved. We got a look at the reason for the algorithm changes, why and how it took so long for certain updates to be mad, and what the founders' true vision for the app was. They never intended for it to be used the way we use it, and in my mind, it makes me feel a little dirty. 

The entire book is so interesting - I cannot get over how good it was. If you love reading about companies (i.e: Bad Blood), you will love No Filter. 

One of my favorite parts about the book was the fact that this is all very recent. It's history, yes, but the history we were all around for. When Sarah started mentioning Pinterest and Snapchat, I remember being the first amongst my friends to use the apps. I remember when I first got Facebook and how Myspace seemingly disappeared from society. 

The fact that all of this massive technological change happened within the past ten years is insane and I loved learning the intricate details of it all. 

Sarah Frier's writing is captivating, well researched and so interesting. She writes in a way that makes the story easy to understand but with passion & emotion behind it. You could tell that she spent a lot of time on this book, but of course, that is necessary when writing a book like this.
Was this review helpful?
This is a really powerful book; I could not put it down. I am not an Instagram user although many of my friends are obsessed. The book details how this went from a niche app to a lifestyle and the powers behind it. The whole tech aspects are really fascinating as are the human machinations. I almost didn’t select this book because of my lack of interest in social media....but I would have missed a great read.
Was this review helpful?
I believe that this is an important book.  I love Instagram.  Anyone who is interested in Instagram should read this.
Was this review helpful?
A memoir kind of writing to one of the most wanted stories which has amde so many businesses a success by showing them a way to grow organically by connecitng with customers.
Was this review helpful?
This was easily the best nonfiction book I’ve ever read. It read as a work of fiction. It was full of information but presented in such a palatable way. It caused me to reflect on my own social media usage and what social media has done for society. I could not recommend more.
Was this review helpful?
"No Filter", by Sarah Frier, gives a no-holds-barred look at the history of the popular app Instagram. From its contentious history with Facebook to the whole culture built around an IG-worthy photograph, Frier will tell you everything you've ever wanted to know about Instagram. While the information was rather dry at times, I have to admit that you could tell that the author had spent a lot of time carefully researching this topic.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
No Filter by Sarah Frier was definitely a #BookstagramMadeMeDoIt read for me. I saw several posts with intriguing reviews and comments on the book and since Instagram is my favorite social media platform, I felt like this book was a must-read for me. 

Developed in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger, Instagram is a photo-sharing app where people can post beautiful, professional-looking photos that were taken with their phone. What started out as a niche audience of artisans and photographers simply sharing photos turned mainstream; inspiring celebrities to share their lives with fans and allowing users to brand and build successful Instagram-made businesses and lifestyles, eventually birthing a new phenomenon of “influencers.”

In No Filter, Sarah Frier takes the reader on an unfiltered journey through the start up days of Instagram, the $1 billion acquisition by Facebook, the clash of Facebook’s company culture with Instagram’s, the eventual departure of Instagram’s founders, and a bittersweet glimpse into the future of the app. Beautifully written, this story captures the true essence of Instagram and how this app has fundamentally changed the world we live in and how we interact with one another. 

Sarah Frier did an amazing job at objectively sharing the stories of these tech companies and brands in exquisite detail. I enjoyed learning about Instagram’s history and reading about how they were largely able to maintain independence from Facebook until they achieved 1 billion users. I applaud Systrom’s commitment to maintaining the true essence of Instagram throughout the app’s growth, the acquisition by Facebook, and despite some of the cut-throat feedback provided by Mark Zuckerberg. Without spoiling anything, I personally have a lot of mixed feelings about Zuckerberg and while this book didn’t drastically sway me to lean further into one way or the other, it did help cement a lot of the feelings and suspicions I had prior to reading the book. I enjoyed learning more details about the various mistakes that Facebook has made over the years in regards to the data of its users and even its role within the 2016 presidential election and how Instagram was unfortunately compromised by this too. The book really sheds some light on how some of the algorithms in place work and how much data they are able to access of their users. At one point, the book mentioned how Facebook was growing largely concerned with the number of users no longer posting personal status updates and photos as they were in the past. As a result of this, the app introduced the “On This Day” feature in hopes that people would re-share these personal throwback posts to help bring back that personal feel the app once had (the slightly dystopian feel to this portion of the book made me think of Followers by Megan Angelo). 

There were definitely a lot of entertaining moments in the book that I enjoyed, such as the history of how celebrities became so instrumental to Instagram and what it was like working with some of them in the beginning (*ahem* Justin Bieber 😅) as well as the influencer phenomenon and how this has come to be what it is. Having been old enough to recall a lot of the earlier versions of Facebook and Instagram, it was fun being able to travel through those time frames and reminisce on my own earlier experiences with these apps in connection with the story. I also enjoyed reading about the shared history and connections among Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Vine, etc. 

Overall, I found this book to be very entertaining, intriguing and a resourceful tool in changing the way I think about and use social media. This was a great debut by Sarah Frier, and I recommend it to anyone that uses social media and is fascinated with learning about the history of these companies. Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for providing me a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! 💛
Was this review helpful?
"No Filter" is a compelling well written book about how Instagram came to be the social media juggernaut that it is now , following it from its humble beginnings to the acquisition by Facebook and beyond.  Sarah Frier's detailed writing was well researched and hard to put down! Definitely recommend as it will get you thinking about both Instagram and social media in todays world.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this book was truly unputdownable, but then again, I am a social media professional by day and influencer by night. Still, reading about Instagram's inception, Facebook's purchase of it, and all the tension that then arose from the latter was nothing short of riveting.

I really enjoyed Frier's engaging and descriptive writing style that made me feel like I was experiencing the stories for myself. Oftentimes, it didn't feel like I was reading nonfiction because it was paced so well that I wanted to continue reading and reading until I finished completely. Nonetheless, I become very invested in reading about how such a powerful app came to be, and the nuances of Mark Zuckerberg's fear that Instagram could eventually overtake Facebook.

From learning about how some of my favorite features like Stories came to be to discovering all the hidden "secrets" behind the politics and culture at both Facebook and Instagram, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning how social media has come to capture nearly all human attention, almost to a fault.

Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon&Schuster for the ARC of "No Filter" in exchange for my honest review!

"No Filter" by Sarah Frier follows Instagram and its creators from conception to its acquisition by Facebook. Frier gives all the details of how Instagram works and why it works the way that it does, and what sacrifices the company made along the way to get where they are today.

As someone who works with social media for work, I found this book extremely interesting. Instagram is arguably one of my favorite apps for work, as well as for personal use. The feel of Instagram is different from other apps, although I couldn't put my finger on why before now.

I love the ideals that Instagram began with: art. There is beauty in everything and people should be able to display that. Each account is its own unique perspective. The experience is entirely based on community and what is best for the community. For a majority of the company's life they held this focus above everything and I think it shows.

It's hard to review something that is a mix of business and history, but I would say Frier captured this topic in an interesting way. She made good use of story telling to keep the pace quicker and to keep readers engaged with the story- what will happen next?

All in all, I felt like this book was a fun, informative read. I gave it 4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
This book captures how Instagram started as a photography and filter social app and continued to become a billion user app after being acquired by Facebook. The author tells the story by turning interviews into narrative, so that it doesn't read like a journalistic summary of Instagram's past 10 years. The result is a great tale of how success and growth running into scandal and ego can leave a bitter taste. It is also unclear and unanswered at the end what the ultimate legacy of Instagram will be. 

The first part of this book starts off with Kevin Systrom's early career and Instagram's early days, with photography and filters on a mobile-only app. An emphasis here was how Instagram's early rise came in part due to partnerships with other major tech companies - for example, being featured on stage at iPhone launches. The author gives plenty to the reader to learn about Systrom early in his career.

The second part covers the Facebook acquisition of Instagram (while bypassing regulation), its early years focused on growth, and the clash of two cultures of the social media worlds. The two companies reflected the characters and differing priorities of its two founders, Systrom and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. As Instagram leveraged Facebook's infrastructure and network effects to continue towards hypergrowth, Systrom had to constantly hear from Zuckerberg and other Facebook execs that Instagram needed to grow, but also to avoid competing directly with Facebook. 

The third part covers Instagram and its executives becoming engrained in both the celebrity world and in teen culture. Its outreach to key users was covered significantly, even a few features developed directly based off of feedback from celebrities. A huge turning point for the app came when Instagram implemented Stories to fend off Snapchat. This is where the book gets really interesting, talking through the backstory and the people behind the development of the product (including Systrom's initial reticence to prioritize Stories), as well as its outreach to celebrities on how to leverage ephemeral sharing of authentic experiences. 

The final part covers the fallout of scandals at the main Facebook app and the encroaching popularity of Instagram. More and more, Zuckerberg saw Instagram as a threat to the main Facebook app, even though Instagram had been owned by Facebook Inc. for years, acquired as a hedge. As Cambridge Analytica and widespread fake news hits Facebook, and drug dealing becomes prevalent on Instagram, it's clear that these apps shape society more then just merely reflecting society. 

Throughout the book, there were a few themes that they were repeatedly scattered throughout: the power struggle between Systrom and Zuckerberg, Instagram's downside of pressure on its users to create perfect posts, and the apps' effect on wider society. These points were brought up again and again, that it sometimes felt like the author moved from event to event without one overarching link between them. There's also more about celebrity culture than I cared to read about (I suppose Instagram changed celebrity culture after all).

Still, learning the differences between the two companies was valuable. Product managers and tech leaders alike would benefit to learn the different leadership styles of Systrom and Zuckerberg. In the end, though the story of both Instagram and Facebook is unfinished, the author does an admirable job of covering the social media landscape up until this point, making this book well worth the read.

I would like to thank Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for sending over an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?