In this “sequel to The Social Network” (The New York Times), award-winning reporter Sarah Frier reveals the never-before-told story of how Instagram became the most culturally defining app of the decade.
“The most enrapturing book about Silicon Valley drama since Hatching Twitter” (Fortune), No Filter “pairs phenomenal in-depth reporting with explosive storytelling that gets to the heart of how Instagram has shaped our lives, whether you use the app or not” (The New York Times).
In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger released a photo-sharing app called Instagram, with one simple but irresistible feature: it would make anything you captured look more beautiful. The cofounders cultivated a community of photographers and artisans around the app, and it quickly went mainstream. In less than two years, it caught Facebook’s attention: Mark Zuckerberg bought the company for a historic $1 billion when Instagram had only thirteen employees.
That might have been the end of a classic success story. But the cofounders stayed on, trying to maintain Instagram’s beauty, brand, and cachet, considering their app a separate company within the social networking giant. They urged their employees to make changes only when necessary, resisting Facebook’s grow-at-all-costs philosophy in favor of a strategy that highlighted creativity and celebrity. Just as Instagram was about to reach a billion users, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg—once supportive of the founders’ autonomy—began to feel threatened by Instagram’s success.
Frier draws on unprecedented access—from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors; Anna Wintour of Vogue; Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire; and a plethora of influencers worldwide—to show how Instagram has fundamentally changed the way we show, eat, travel, and communicate, all while fighting to preserve the values which contributed to the company’s success. “Deeply reported and beautifully written” (Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair), No Filter examines how Instagram’s dominance acts as lens into our society today, highlighting our fraught relationship with technology, our desire for perfection, and the battle within tech for its most valuable commodity: our attention.