Nick Bilton

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Nick Bilton
Nick Bilton (15267480651) (cropped).jpg
Nick Bilton in 2014
Alma materSchool of Visual Arts
The New School
Occupation(s)Journalist, author and filmmaker
EmployerVanity Fair
Notable workHatching Twitter (2013), American Kingpin (2017), Fake Famous (2021)

Nick Bilton is a British-American journalist, author, and filmmaker. He is currently a special correspondent at Vanity Fair.

Life and career[edit]

Bilton was born in Darlington, UK, and grew up in Leeds.[1] He attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.[2] He has degrees from The New School and the School of Visual Arts. He worked in the film and advertising industries.[3]

Bilton worked at The New York Times from 2003 to 2016, as a design editor in the newsroom and a researcher in the research and development labs.[3] Before he left, he was a technology columnist and the lead writer for the Bits blog.[4][5][6] He writes on a range of technology topics, including the "future of technology and the social impact of the internet on our culture and media".

His reporting is credited with helping to lead the United States Federal Aviation Administration to overturn their longtime ban on using cell phones, Kindles and iPads on airplanes.[7][8] Jeff Bezos gave credit to Bilton during Amazon's 2013 earnings report for overturning the ban, saying "a big hat tip to Nick Bilton on that one.[9]"

In 2016, he left The New York Times to become a special correspondent for Vanity Fair,[10] where he writes features and columns. He co-wrote the 2015-2019 Vanity Fair New Establishment List.[11] He is also a contributor to CNBC, where he discusses technology and business topics.

Bilton is the former host of the podcast Inside the Hive with Nick Bilton that he co-created with Vanity Fair and Cadence13.[12]

Fake Famous[edit]

In 2021, HBO released Fake Famous, a documentary film Bilton wrote, directed and produced about social media and influencer culture.[13] In the film, Bilton and a documentary team purchased fake bots and fake engagement for three participants to see if they would be perceived as “famous” by the public.

Twitter lawsuit[edit]

In 2016, Bilton fought, and won, a 1st Amendment lawsuit when he was deposed to testify in a class action lawsuit against Twitter, after an article he wrote in Vanity Fair, “Twitter Is Betting Everything on Jack Dorsey. Will It Work?”[14] alleged that the company knowingly deceived investors in 2015 about its users’ daily and monthly engagement with the site.[15] The article featured “a tempestuous discussion” between Anthony Noto, the chief financial officer and Gabriel Stricker, the director of communications who argued that the company “come clean” about the company’s stagnant growth numbers.[16] The story subsequently led to a $6 billion lawsuit against Twitter and an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In September 2021, Twitter settled the lawsuit for $809 million.[17]


He is the author of three books: I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted (2010),[18] Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal (2013),[19] and American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road (2017).

Hatching Twitter told the story of the Twitter's early days and its four founders—Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, and Biz Stone—who are portrayed as "mediocrities, narcissists and mopers who seem to spend as much time on scheming, self-promotion and self-destruction as on anything else", according to Tim Wu's review in the Washington Post.[20] It was on The New York Times bestseller list and was voted Best Book of the Year on The Wall Street Journal Reader's Choice.[21] The book was optioned by Lionsgate and is currently[when?] being turned into a TV series.[22][needs update] Published in May 2017, Bilton's book, American Kingpin, tells the story of the Silk Road marketplace, its founder Ross Ulbricht (who went by "Dread Pirate Roberts"), and how U.S. law enforcement arrested him.[23][24] The book debuted at #9 on The New York Times business bestseller list.[25] In June 2017, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the Coen brothers and Steven Zaillian were adapting the book into a movie.[26]


Year Title Director Writer Producer
2023 Razzlekahn[27] No No Yes
2021 Fake Famous Yes Yes Yes
2019 The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley No No Yes


  1. ^ a b "Tweet". Twitter. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  2. ^ Bilton, Nick (2018-02-16). "What Marjory Stoneman Douglas, My Alma Mater, Should Teach the G.O.P." Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  3. ^ a b "Speaker Biographies" (PDF). Public Relations Society of America. 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Times Topic: Nick Bilton" January 20, 2014
  5. ^ "Nick Bilton Turns Down $1.5 Million+ from CBS/CNET, Stays at NY Times". Uncrunched. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  6. ^ "What Could Replace Airplane Mode?", The Atlantic, November 20, 2013
  7. ^ Skift "The Internet Is Thanking Nick Bilton For The FAA's New Rules", October 31, 2013
  8. ^ Chron "If the FAA changes its electronics rules, you can thank a reporter" October 7, 2013
  9. ^ "Amazon's Q3 Earnings — A Beat On Revenues; Stock Rockets Up After Hours". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  10. ^ "The 60-second interview: Nick Bilton, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair". Politico. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  11. ^ "New Establishment 2015 | Vanity Fair | Vanity Fair". Archived from the original on 2015-09-14.
  12. ^ "Inside the hive". Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  13. ^ Fry, Naomi (2021-02-20). "Fake Famous" and the Tedium of Influencer Culture?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  14. ^ Bilton, Nick (2016-06-01). "Twitter Is Betting Everything on Jack Dorsey. Will It Work?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  15. ^ Frankel, Alison (2021-09-21). "Twitter investors want Vanity Fair writer to testify at securities class action trial". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  16. ^ "Can @Jack Save Twitter?". Vanity Fair. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2022-10-04. This conundrum led to a tempestuous discussion among members of the Staff. "We have zero credibility with Wall Street right now," Gabriel Stricker, the director of communications, said in a meeting with Dorsey and top managers. "We have to come clean" about the company's stagnant growth numbers. Anthony Noto, the chief financial officer, agreed, but he had another solution. He wanted to blame the current state of the company on marketing and messaging, essentially throwing Stricker under the bus.
  17. ^ Lyons, Kim (2021-09-21). "Twitter wants to settle with angry investors for $809 million". The Verge. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  18. ^ "The Conversation: Nick Bilton Explains the Future". ABC News. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  19. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (13 November 2013). "Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  20. ^ Tim Wu (19 December 2013). "Book review: 'Hatching Twitter' by Nick Bilton". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  21. ^ Staff, WSJ (13 December 2013). "Readers' Choice: The Best Book of 2013". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  22. ^ Marechal, A.J. (December 18, 2013). "Lionsgate Adapting Nick Bilton's 'Hatching Twitter' for TV". Variety.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ Tiku, Nitasha (12 June 2017). "How the Dark Web's Dread Pirate Roberts Went Down". New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  24. ^ Dilworth, Dianna. "Nick Bilton to Write Silk Road Book". Adweek. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  25. ^ Bearman, Joshua. "he Untold Story of Silk Road, Part 1". Wired. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  26. ^ Tatiana Siegel; Natalie Jarvey (2 June 2017). "Steve Zaillian to Write Fox Thriller 'Dark Web'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  27. ^ Roth, Emma (2022-02-12). "Netflix orders docuseries on crypto laundering couple". The Verge. Retrieved 2023-01-16.

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