She’s the star of shows like The Crown and film like Women Talking, but Claire Foy will soon take on quite a different role as tech executive Sheryl Sandberg, who until last year was CEO of Facebook parent company Meta, in a new HBO series about Facebook and social media. Doomsday Machine has been in development for some time now, and with Mark Zuckerberg ’s recent launch of Twitter competitor Threads, we’re certainly going to be watching when the series drops later in 2023.
What is Doomsday Machine about?
Everyone knows the founding and rise of Facebook was covered in David Fincher’s seminal film The Social Network but Doomsday Machine is set to cover a later period in Facebook’s domination of social media. While Jesse Eisenberg likely won’t be reprising his role in this series, Zuckerberg is set to be a key character.
Based on the book An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, the explosive HBO miniseries begins with the controversies surrounding the company’s influence on two key events in 2016: the election of Donald Trump in the US, and Brexit in the UK. As the Cambridge Analytica scandal and questions about data protection start to engulf the company, things start getting difficult for Facebook (later renamed Meta), and Foy’s Sheryl Sandberg.
What else can we expect?
Other controversies will be explored in the series. The effects of Instagram on the mental health of younger people and Facebook’s downplaying of it, the whistleblowing by Frances Haugen before the US Senate, and the alleged loosening of restrictions around “VIP users” like Trump that allowed disinformation to spread: all of these are set to be covered.
The series seems like it’ll still be hugely relevant even if Facebook seems like yesterday’s news: the Twitter-esque app Threads touted by Zuckerberg as the next big thing hit 100 million users within the first five days of launch. We don’t know who the rest of the cast will include, but Doomsday Machine is created by Homeland Elegies author Ayad Akhtar and is produced by Anonymous Content and wiip, the production companies behind Spotlight and Mare of Easttown, respectively.
Is there a release date?
Doomsday Machine doesn’t currently have a release date, though it’s set to launch sometime later this year on HBO. Foy meanwhile is also set to appear in the upcoming fantasy thriller film Strangers.