The story follows a female protagonist 'Mae Holland' as she is newly recruited to a company called 'The Circle'. It gave off a vibe not entirely unlike some internet companies right now.
The company began as an effort make the web more civil by getting rid of anonymity and giving everyone a single online identity for usage across all channels.
However, at some point - likely due to it's own unsustainably high paced growth - it evolved into an all encompassing organisation that wanted to ensure that no piece of knowledge was ever lost.
Everyone would be under mass surveillance. People were encouraged to 'go transparent'. This meant - allow the world to see what you see, hear what you hear, experience what you observe.
It has the noblest of intentions - that people will themselves not do wrong things if they feel they are being monitored.
In this culture, secrets are viewed as criminal.
It starts to seem especially vicious when you realise there's no opting out. You'll always be in someone's view and hence 'in the system'.
It went one step even further. They hypothesised whether it would function as a better enactor of democracy - total democracy.
Take a step back. We are talking about a company, which is single handedly processing literally everything that's physically happening on the earth. It has all data about everyone. It has no competition. When the competition, or any setback arises - it makes use of superior knowledge base to prevent them from rising further.
In other words, it was becoming a totalitarian monopoly.
What makes this relevant and a tad bit scary is that so many pieces of the puzzle that make this company are already in place as of 2017.