web site hit counter LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

Availability: Ready to download

Social media has been weaponized, as state hackers and rogue terrorists have seized upon Twitter and Facebook to create chaos and destruction. This urgent report is required reading, from defense expert P.W. Singer and Council on Foreign Relations fellow Emerson Brooking.


Compare

Social media has been weaponized, as state hackers and rogue terrorists have seized upon Twitter and Facebook to create chaos and destruction. This urgent report is required reading, from defense expert P.W. Singer and Council on Foreign Relations fellow Emerson Brooking.

30 review for LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    Nothing could, in an economic or real war, be more attractive than to be able to influence the population of all countries with internet and social media after years of infiltrating the social networks both by manipulating trends and creating undetectable armies of millions of fake or, and that´s an unsolvable problem, real profiles or just bots and AIs. Those are already so advanced that it´s very hard to differentiate between real humans and bot armies controlled by algorithms and it will soon Nothing could, in an economic or real war, be more attractive than to be able to influence the population of all countries with internet and social media after years of infiltrating the social networks both by manipulating trends and creating undetectable armies of millions of fake or, and that´s an unsolvable problem, real profiles or just bots and AIs. Those are already so advanced that it´s very hard to differentiate between real humans and bot armies controlled by algorithms and it will soon be impossible to detect them. Just take AlphaGo, AlphaStar, deep fake, quantum computing, etc. and the secret AIs that may already exist, they are all unbeatable, ever faster-evolving entities and just imagine what the Indian, US and Chinese military may have in their secret cyber weapon programs. Nobody will know if the video, it´s likers, commentators, links, references, etc. are real or not and how should someone confronted with a perfect deep fake video that has been combined with social engineering, a honey trap, compromising situations (all rejected by the victim) seem credible when real photos and videos are arranged around a real situation with many witnesses? In the past it was much easier to keep one's citizens heads clean from nasty foreign propaganda and annoying alternative political models because all one had to do was to control all printed and broadcasted media and bingo, all people's minds just filled with the right thoughts. That went well until not even 2 decades ago when those social networks started their rise to ultimate power over information and the state lost control about what the people should think and do. Now filter bubbles and echo chambers are a logical result of the business model of search engines and social networks, because clicks, views, etc. are used to sell advertisements and so the manipulation is pretty easy. That social media thing certainly has it´s good options too, cat pictures, foodp***, etc, but because this should be a pessimistic review about a frightening topic, I will just focus on the horrible stuff and ignore the happy go lucky elements. So the cyberwar command of a fictive country, a huge conglomerate or a multinational megacorporation starts using all those tools and the power to manipulate the headlines, discussions, hyped topics, videos, news articles, etc. by pushing just the content they want to see. But that´s just the beginning, it´s not just about spreading some bad blood or doing a little harm by manipulations that could cost a few billion or ruin the one or other company, but a new dimension of "Divide and rule" everywhere, anytime and with just one click. What comes better than manipulating democratic elections with troll armies, haters, fake news and massive amounts of cash to push each content on all social media platforms and google searches. Anything should escalate as quickly as possible and the red lines, differences and hate between all different groups possible should grow. Democrats vs. Republicans, black people vs. white people, refugees vs. homelanders (watch The Boyzs, great series), left vs. right, conservative vs. progressive, etc. the more poisonous and hate-filled the debates, the more divided and weakened the country and its inner stability, the better. It functions great since millennia. All that together weakens the state from inside, making it sure that the government and secret services have to stay alarmed and focused on the inner problems, on the real option of state of emergency until civil war in the case of a war or natural disaster. That might seem exaggerated and improbable, but who has read a bit about military mind and war games, think tanks and war tactics in general knows that everything can be weaponized and nothing seems so sexy to a four-star general as just to click the button, avoiding to accidentally drop the nuke, but he sh**storm instead, probably combined with a cool quote like "Unleash the trolls!" A small version of this total media control is the individual manipulation of search results, update feeds, trending topics, hiding certain topics and comments, make one buy buy buy stuff, hiding comments one made or the comments or answers of friends to change the context, what all together accumulates to the large scale and the mentioned bigger problems. Although sending subconscious purchase incentives, voting proposals, etc. is, of course, the hottest dream of each Orwellian agitator or PR expert. A bit larger topic ist the misuse of social media by all kinds of extremist groups, but what ist that compared to the capabilities of superpowers. Of course the media focus is always on those 2 groups of problems, live ISIS decapitation videos, individual filter bubbles and murderers using the internet to recruit new suicide bombers to distract the public from the real cyberwar scenarios between large states, corporations and conglomerates. Even politicians and parties and all the lies are just the tip of the iceberg, because the social transformations in the background are the real deal. A combination of cyber attacks with conventional war is a logical step, destabilizing the country to attack before a real physical invasion and to prepare the world public for a quick, easy and justified war. The preparation for the legitimization of attacks may begin months or even years before the first real battle, so that millions of likes, shares and comments may strengthen the righteousness. Clickbaiting #patrioticwar share and like It is a problem of human nature that lies and hate tend, sexy as they are, to spread better, faster and wider than the complicated truth that may be combined with critical, objective analysis nobody who truly believes in something very very much wants to do because it could show nasty cognitive dissonances, what leads to an overrepresentation of harmful, hate-filled content and news. The ultimate goal is to, by repeating mantras as often as possible, make sure that people believe in nothing, except the contagious, poisonous web feeds, and deem everything fake news and evil propaganda that doesn´t conform the doctrine and agenda of the puppet masters. How can any private or public supervisory body differentiate between parody, art, protest, provocation, free speech, debate, propaganda, etc. by real people or fake accounts? It is very complicated to deal with those problems, because it involves freedom of speech and free internet and each attempt to avoid infiltration and demagogic speech would destroy civil rights at the same moment so the only way might be to make all people educated and wise. Just joking, there is certainly no solution, we are doomed and the world has been transformed to a William Gibson novel. Great author, by the way, he writes nonfiction about present age topics. A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_m... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critici... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_news https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwa... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberat... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberte... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compute...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Singer and Brookings provide an overview of how propaganda/advertising has become exponentially more powerful via social media. ISIS effectively used social media to attract new adherents and amazingly, used it to intimidate the Iraqi army such that they relinquished territory without a fight. Anyone following current news coverage knows that the Russians were ‘everywhere’ in the 2016 election—hiring an army of full-time disinformation artists to flood Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in order to Singer and Brookings provide an overview of how propaganda/advertising has become exponentially more powerful via social media. ISIS effectively used social media to attract new adherents and amazingly, used it to intimidate the Iraqi army such that they relinquished territory without a fight. Anyone following current news coverage knows that the Russians were ‘everywhere’ in the 2016 election—hiring an army of full-time disinformation artists to flood Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in order to increase fear between groups—whether it was immigrants, racial groups or political parties. The goal was to ensure the election of the weakest President possible; in 2016, that proved to be Trump. Singer and Brooking note that online warfare includes the 4Ds—“dismiss the critic, distort the facts, distract from the main issue, and dismay the audience. Unfortunately when these tactics ‘go viral’ and garner thousands and thousands of ‘likes/shares’, the current system allows the perpetrator to make money. Plus, the algorithms used by social media use those ‘likes/shares’ to tailor everything from the ads you see to the web-searches you conduct. The result is an echo chamber. It really causes one to pause before ‘liking or sharing’ anything ever again. Then there is China. They are using social media to oversee what their citizens say and do. Every person in China with a smartphone is required to download a particular government ap, and the police can confront them anywhere to see if they have the ap on their phone. If they don’t, they can be arrested. Talk about ‘Big Brother’! It is a whole new world out there and only constant questioning and investigation will help to counter the tidal wave of online warfare. Highly recommend.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    "There is a war... for your Mind!" That's the slogan of InfoWars, the incendiary conspiracy news network and nutritional supplement marketing firm. And while Alex Jones is wrong about almost everything, he's right about that. In LikeWar Singer and Brooking ably synthesize a sophisticated picture of information warfare in 2018, drawing from sources as diverse as Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and ISIS, to argue that the internet has lead to a blurring of lines between consumer, citizen, journalist, a "There is a war... for your Mind!" That's the slogan of InfoWars, the incendiary conspiracy news network and nutritional supplement marketing firm. And while Alex Jones is wrong about almost everything, he's right about that. In LikeWar Singer and Brooking ably synthesize a sophisticated picture of information warfare in 2018, drawing from sources as diverse as Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and ISIS, to argue that the internet has lead to a blurring of lines between consumer, citizen, journalist, activist, and warrior which threatens the foundations of liberal democracy. The tech companies which built these platforms and profited from them must grapple with the politics of their technologies, before we all reap the whirlwind. Computer networks and smart phones connect billions of people, allowing ideas to flow faster than ever before in history. Sometimes, the results can be impressive. The Chiapas Zapatista movement in 1994 was a dial-up and fax version of a network insurgency that managed to bring enough international opprobrium on Mexico that the government blinked, and reached some kind of political accord (Chiapas is complicated). More recently, Eliot Higgins and a team of open source analysts at Bellingcat managed to track down the exact BUK missile system and Russian soldiers responsible for shooting down MH 17 in 2014. But there are a lot of dark sides. When people connect, the emotion that spreads most rapidly is anger. Lies spread five times faster than truth. Musicians can use social networks to directly connect with their fans, and ISIS uses it to connect with alienated Muslim youths worldwide. Social networks sort diverse citizens into filter bubbles of people who think alike. Eliot Higgin's careful open source intelligence has a paranoid fun-house mirror version in the QAnon conspiracy, where Qultist decoders find hidden messages from an alleged 'senior white house source'. And then there is the matter of information war, an area that even now, after years of offensive cyber operations, liberal democracies still don't understand. Hostile propaganda slips into Western news networks and major platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are infested with bots. LikeWar can even take a personal toll. Over the course of writing this book, General Michael Flynn went from forward looking full-spectrum commander to head Trumpist conspiracy cheerleader to indicted and plead out felon. Flynn's fall is complex, but it can't be separated from the internet. If the trolls got him, what chance does your idiot cousin stand? The counters, 'citizen truth teams' and senior emissaries to groups vulnerable to recruitment, seem like thin reeds against the coming maelstrom of noise. LikeWar starts with Clausewitz's dictum that war is a continuation of politics by other means, and there are clear links between cyberspace and physical space. Intensity of hashtags impacted the subsequent intensity of Israeli airstrikes during attacks on the Gaza strip. ISIS used propaganda to create an aura of invincibility that outflanked the defenders of Mosul, while Russia denied that its 'little green men' were even in Ukraine. But the difference is that cyberspace is constructed space rather than natural space. The networks are built, maintained, and owned by real corporations and real people. The internet grew from an anarchic specialized scientific network to a major engine of commerce and communicate with little deliberate government oversight. Section 230 absolved American companies of responsibility for policing content, with major carve outs for copyrighted IP and pornography. Yet as concerns over cyberbullying and counter-terrorism rose, major networks adopted digital constitutions that were permissive towards speech and censorious towards erotica. Policing content is and was possible, but always took a back seat to growth and engagement, the guide stars of Silicon Valley. The future is if anything, darker. Advances in machine learning and AI allow ever more realistic bots, computer generated DeepFakes where a politician can be programmed to say anything, and personalized targeting of people with exactly the propaganda they'll believe. There are defensive counters, but if I might draw military analogies, what we saw in 2016 was armored warfare circa 1918: clearly the future, but not yet a mature system. Given the pace of technology, we only have a few years before digital blitzkrieg. I'm extremely online, and I've been following this space for years. I've presented at multiple conferences on this topic, including Governance of Emerging Technologies and Association of Internet Researchers. LikeWar is the book I wish I'd written. Cognizant, forward looking, and deeply researched, it is vital reading for anyone interested in technology or politics. My only reservation is that I wish the sources were better linked in the text, instead of being buried in static endnotes. Maybe the next edition will push an update.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    Every new technology is disruptive and many of those in the past bear an uncanny resemblance in their effects to those of today. Each has been heralded as providing the means for everlasting peace. Moveable type democratized book production making reading almost a required skill yet contributed to religious upheaval. The telegraph and then the telephone made communication virtually instantaneous and while they brought people closer together provided the means for generals to control their troops Every new technology is disruptive and many of those in the past bear an uncanny resemblance in their effects to those of today. Each has been heralded as providing the means for everlasting peace. Moveable type democratized book production making reading almost a required skill yet contributed to religious upheaval. The telegraph and then the telephone made communication virtually instantaneous and while they brought people closer together provided the means for generals to control their troops from afar. Radio gave FDR the means to go around the newspapers who had pushed back against his third and fourth terms. His fireside chats reduced his message to just short bursts of ten-minute talks (tweets of the day, if you will) while Goebbels noted that the rise of Nazism would never have been possible without radio. Television forced politicians to change their habits and locked in the public to news as entertainment. It ended the Vietnam War by bringing battle scenes into living rooms. The Internet, still in its infancy really, is equally disruptive by changing the way we link to one another. Twitter, live streaming, and blogging have become essential parts of the distribution of information, both real and fake. Virtually everyone has a smart-phone which even radically alters the battlefield. The Russians used the geo-location transmissions of Ukrainian soldiers cellphones to zero in their artillery on those troops during that brief war. Cyber warfare includes more than just hacking a network. It's possible to cause damage by hacking information as well. Singer and Brooking cite the seesaw battle for Mosul in Iraq as just one example. ISIS used Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook to manipulate likes and the streams to promote their own POV. By manipulating images, followers, and hashtags they were successful in winning converts and battles. The U.S. and Iraqi armies were totally unprepared for this propaganda warfare, but they learned fast, and the #freemosul tag soon appeared countering the ISIS streams with those more favorable to U.S. actions. Just as Amazon has disrupted commerce, so had social media disrupted warfare and politics.  Terrorists now show their work online. They use Twitter routinely. Russia tries to destabilize democracies by fomenting distrust of civil institutions with fake material. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battleground that plays out on our smartphones. Singer and Brooking, using a combination of stories and research, lay out the problems facing us with new ways of conducting warfare. But it works both ways. Those Russian soldiers who shot down MH17 were identified through painstaking crowd sourcing work online by tracking soldier's emails, tire treads, registration numbers, all sorts of clues that were found online. Their work for the Dutch Investigation team was hacked by Russian hackers attempting to hide the Russian involvement.  Propaganda can now go viral. Fake stories are re-tweeted by confederates whose followers often unwittingly re-tweet the false information and soon millions have received precisely the message intended by the original poster who may be a governmental entity seeking to destabilize an adversary. The audience is huge as is the volume. Around 3.4 billion people have access to the Internet -- about half the world's population. Roughly 500 million tweets are sent each day and nearly seven hours of footage is uploaded on YouTube every second in 76 languages. "No matter how outlandish these theories sound, they served their purpose successfully. 'The disinformation campaign [around the flight] shows how initially successful propaganda can be. . . . Obviously the ...lies were eventually debunked, but by then their narrative had been fixed in many people's minds.' That is the overarching goal of information hackers: 'The more doubt you can sow in people's minds about all information, the more you will weaken their propensity to recognize the truth.'" Trump was one of the first to recognize the power of Twitter. Following his massive bankruptcy and declining interest in the Apprentice TV show, Trump began to tweet thousands of messages, bombarding the twitter-sphere with provocative, false, and often incendiary tweets. Soon his financial peccadilloes were forgotten, obliterated by his Twitter-storm. His infamy rose, but he didn't care as he valued the attention more than anything. It's a lesson he has never forgotten. As Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, said, "it matters less that what you say is true, only that it be believed." The recent video of Nancy Pelosi appearing to be drunk and the Trump's attempt to doctor the CNN video showing that Acosta had inappropriately touched a white House intern are just a couple examples of internal use of social media to influence popular thought. Lifewire.com, a technology website based in New York, defines an internet troll as a modern version of the same mythical character. They hide behind their computer screens and go out of their way to cause trouble on the Internet. Like its mythical predecessor, an internet troll is both angry and disruptive - often for no real reason. The effects can be completely out of proportion to their size. The question remains what should governments do, if anything, to shut down trolls. In some cases they are freedom fighters trying to rally against a corrupt government. Would it be better to simply keep the Internet as open as possible? Satire, parody, misleading content, imposter content, fabricated content and manipulated content all need to be seen separately from each other and dealt with accordingly. How is that to be accomplished? Who will control it? The "Like" phenomenon is an important part of the campaign. The more "likes" a piece of news or comment gets on a news or social site, the more likely it is to be believed. People are more likely to believe a headline if they have seen a similar one before. “It didn’t even matter if the story was preceded by a warning that it might be fake,” the authors write. “What counted most was familiarity. The more often you hear a claim, the less likely you are to assess it critically.” That's what irritates me about the media's obsession with Trump's Tweets. By repeating them incessantly and parsing them repeatedly, they are validated. That, to some extent, was the genius of the Russian interference in the last election. You don't need sophisticated hackers to implement it either, just a bunch of people promoting a certain meme or thought until it becomes a tsunami overwhelming any other rational discussion; it becomes "the truth." Slick videos, click bait, and viral memes become the new weapons in undermining democracy effectively grounding billion dollar fighter jets which then become obsolete as the war has already been lost. As an aside, I remember listening to a commentator who suggested that the Phil Donahue show started the descent into irrationality. He was the first to invite callers on the show live to express their opinion. Soon all the shows were doing it. Callers became the experts and soon everyone was his own expert bypassing the value of people who had actually studied an issue. A bit simplistic perhaps, but there may be a grain of truth there. Fascinating book.       

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    This is an extremely interesting --but frightening-- look at how social media has become weaponized. Highly recommend; we all need to be informed. Unfortunately, I'm just not "feeling" a more in-depth review at the moment. This is an extremely interesting --but frightening-- look at how social media has become weaponized. Highly recommend; we all need to be informed. Unfortunately, I'm just not "feeling" a more in-depth review at the moment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality - interview with the author in which he reminds us of Trump's comment that "I would never have become President if it was not for social media". I Thought the Web Would Stop Hate, Not Spread It - article in the NYT on the same topic. Let me say it again: Social media platforms — and Facebook and Twitter are as guilty of this as Gab is — are designed so that the awful travels twice as fast as the good. And they are operating with slop This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality - interview with the author in which he reminds us of Trump's comment that "I would never have become President if it was not for social media". I Thought the Web Would Stop Hate, Not Spread It - article in the NYT on the same topic. Let me say it again: Social media platforms — and Facebook and Twitter are as guilty of this as Gab is — are designed so that the awful travels twice as fast as the good. And they are operating with sloppy disregard of the consequences of that awful speech, leading to disasters that they then have to clean up after. And they are doing a very bad job of that, too, because they are unwilling to pay the price to make needed fixes. Why? because draining the cesspool would mean losing users, and that would hurt the bottom line. Consider this: On Monday, New York Times reporters easily found almost 12,000 anti-Semitic messages that had been uploaded to Instagram in the wake of the synagogue attack. And another one - The Internet Will Be the Death of Us - the NYT is on a roll today. This was a week ago — before Sayoc’s arrest, before Bowers’s rampage, before Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, won Brazil’s presidential election. As The Times reported, pro-Bolsonaro forces apparently tried to hurt his opponents and help him by flooding WhatsApp, the messaging application owned by Facebook, “with a deluge of political content that gave wrong information on voting locations and times.” The hatred, ignorance and division fostered by social media has been greatly underestimated and its malign impacts are only just becoming apparent. This looks essential reading. PS goodreads is an exception of course

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jurgen Appelo

    A real eye-opener.

  8. 4 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    I beg everyone to get regularly get your news from at least one source that you disagree with. We are headed for dystopia if we do not fix this fundamental social problem. NYT readers and WSJ readers need to start reading both.   Fake news readers and proliferators need to cut it out. Do your duty. Amen.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    What an extraordinary book this is! I am currently engaged in a love-hate relationship with social media. I love the ability to keep track of what is going on in the lives of the people I care about; I hate that this keeping track seems to be replacing actual human contact. I love the ease of knowing what's going on in people's lives; I hate the ease with which miscellaneous people I don't want to know every detail somehow manage to glean it from things I put up to share with those I care about. What an extraordinary book this is! I am currently engaged in a love-hate relationship with social media. I love the ability to keep track of what is going on in the lives of the people I care about; I hate that this keeping track seems to be replacing actual human contact. I love the ease of knowing what's going on in people's lives; I hate the ease with which miscellaneous people I don't want to know every detail somehow manage to glean it from things I put up to share with those I care about. I love that it's harder to hide wrongdoing in an era in which everyone has a camera and a platform; I hate that it's harder to define "wrongdoing" as a result because everything is now a-contextual and a glimpse is presented as "reality" and that I never know what is real and what is fake/manufactured for public viewing anymore. I could go on and on, but won't - chances are you know what I mean, and if you don't, I won't be able to convince you. That's something else social media has taught me... In a very thorough and detailed manner, Singer and Brooking examine the history of social media and its increasing influence on everything along the personal-public, social-political spectrum. It's not only social bullying/warfare we need to worry about anymore; now it's actual, martial bullying/warfare too - to an extent I wasn't aware of, but now am with brutal clarity. This is a great and engaging read that pictures a horrifying yet excessively necessary picture of what the world is literally coming to these days. I think it should be required reading for everyone, since the authors make it clear that it is increasingly the case that everyone is affected by the insidious nature of this media-as-message.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sirana

    Massively overhypes the relevance of social media in real world conflicts and conflates every online interaction with "war". A shallow mass of anecdotes with no bigger picture or real desire to quantify the problems of social media manipulation. Occasional insights and a comparably competent overview of the current counter measures that Facebook, Google, etc. employ, keep it from being a total waste of time. Massively overhypes the relevance of social media in real world conflicts and conflates every online interaction with "war". A shallow mass of anecdotes with no bigger picture or real desire to quantify the problems of social media manipulation. Occasional insights and a comparably competent overview of the current counter measures that Facebook, Google, etc. employ, keep it from being a total waste of time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Bowen

    This book is both fascinating and terrifying. I could not put it down. A perfect book to be my first read of 2019. Bottom line: if you use or are affected by social media, you NEED to read this book, and soon. Makes for a good audiobook listen as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    I'd like to think that since the 60's, governments can't get as many people to fight in wars, so there are fewer of them. I don't know if the facts would bear that out, but I don't think many people in Western countries would cheer for war the way the crowds did for World War One. (See pic below.) Actually, one of the historical tidbits in this book is that both the Kaiser and the Czar were afraid not to declare war then because they feared the people's reaction. But I don't think people see war I'd like to think that since the 60's, governments can't get as many people to fight in wars, so there are fewer of them. I don't know if the facts would bear that out, but I don't think many people in Western countries would cheer for war the way the crowds did for World War One. (See pic below.) Actually, one of the historical tidbits in this book is that both the Kaiser and the Czar were afraid not to declare war then because they feared the people's reaction. But I don't think people see war as glorious anymore. Then again, I lived through 9/11 and the Iraq War, so I have seen people get whipped up for the cause of revenge. The corollary to people's lessened glorification of war is that the power-hungry leaders who benefit from it then have to find other ways to amass power that don't sacrifice as much human life. Why commit murder when you can just commit theft? That's what the current global crime syndicate under Putin, Trump, and who knows who else is all about. Brexit was orchestrated by people who shorted the British pound and stand to gain a fortune. Meanwhile, the average British citizen will suffer, but he won't die. And then there's cyberwar, which is the topic of this book. If you can fight for control of people's minds and votes, you don't have to kill or sacrifice anyone to achieve your goal. It's insidious and evil, but it still beats war. It's Likewar. Those were my assumptions going into this book, but guess what? I was wrong. War is not outmoded, at least not according to this book, and the authors are probably right. The cyberwar and disinformation explained here are often a precursor to violence, terrorism, and war. If you've been paying attention to any news other than Fox, the greater themes of this book won't be new to you. You already know about Russian sockpuppets and bots. You might not know some of the smaller details in the book, though. For example, General Michael Flynn is eerily similar to Benedict Arnold in the way he sold out our country. He had a bruised ego and a taste for wealth. Similarly, you might already know that Twitter played a big role in the Arab Spring, but did you also know that use of social media was central in the Mumbai massacre? I didn't. Those little tidbits made the book interesting, and the overall theme is important enough that it can stand frequent repetition anyway. This book will make you want to reduce your use of social media. It also acknowledges that we're all a bunch of addicts who can't stop ourselves. So just like the answer to hate speech is reasoned speech, the answer to social media is thoughtful social media. And that's why I stay here on Goodreads. Hardly any flame wars or manipulated outrage. Just smart people saying intelligent things about good, old-fashioned books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kent Winward

    I was pleased with Jaron Lanier's arguments in Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now over deleting social media accounts, but this book gives some pause as to how we should be fighting the weaponization of social media. I don't know if Lanier's ostrich-head in the sand approach flies after reading this impressive recent history of how social media is used to manipulate the populace. I was pleased with Jaron Lanier's arguments in Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now over deleting social media accounts, but this book gives some pause as to how we should be fighting the weaponization of social media. I don't know if Lanier's ostrich-head in the sand approach flies after reading this impressive recent history of how social media is used to manipulate the populace.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    When it first launched, Facebook and other social media was seen as a cool, if benign, piece of technology that the internet had made possible. After the the 2016 election, the public was made aware of how social media could be used as a tool to manipulate an election, a very unsettling development. However, as the authors of this jaw-dropping book make clear, social media is not just some tool to keep in touch with friends any more. Social media is a new battlefront in both cyber warfare and tr When it first launched, Facebook and other social media was seen as a cool, if benign, piece of technology that the internet had made possible. After the the 2016 election, the public was made aware of how social media could be used as a tool to manipulate an election, a very unsettling development. However, as the authors of this jaw-dropping book make clear, social media is not just some tool to keep in touch with friends any more. Social media is a new battlefront in both cyber warfare and traditional warfare. What happens online cannot only sway elections, it can also get people killed. Starting with an introduction noting the different and unique ways social media has been used in recent years, such as ISIS's use of it as they were invading Mosul and Donald Trump's use of Twitter before and during his presidency, the authors show how social media has become a new battlefield. And what happens online can have deadly consequences in real life. One of the more shocking stories they relate is how gangs in America have been "cyber tagging" people's online profiles and then killing those people in real life. Online beefs are leading to bodies in the street in America and elsewhere. There are many more stories they relate about the dangers of this new battlefield, but I do not want to spoil this book any more than I have. The book is not all bleak though. The authors note how cyber activists and the military have been using social media to combat terrorism and gather intelligence. One uplifting story is about how cyber activists combed social media to determine that it was Russian forces that shot down MH17 over Ukraine in 2014. So, for the old internet enthusiasts, there is hope that the internet can still be used for more than nefarious purposes. But the authors never want the readers to forget that the internet and social media have left their adolescence and it is up to us and our elected leaders to determine what the internet will be moving forward. Will it continue to be the free-wheeling wild west sphere it has been, or will regulation become necessary? That's what the debate is at this point. For anyone who is concerned about the power of social media and its misuse by bad actors and authoritarian regimes, this is the first book you should read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ira Therebel

    I have really mixed feelings about this book. I loved parts of it and I hated others. I loved the volume of information and I hated the obvious bias and manipulation. In general though I will say that I liked the book. It really offers a lot of information on how social media has been used to manipulate people. How it is used in China to control people. How it has been used in war and politics. The stories about ISIS using it were fascinating. I didn't know much about how it has been used in the I have really mixed feelings about this book. I loved parts of it and I hated others. I loved the volume of information and I hated the obvious bias and manipulation. In general though I will say that I liked the book. It really offers a lot of information on how social media has been used to manipulate people. How it is used in China to control people. How it has been used in war and politics. The stories about ISIS using it were fascinating. I didn't know much about how it has been used in the Israel/Palestine conflict although I of course saw some of it online. There are a lot of examples that show us how even regular people managed to make a lot of impact in war conflicts. I also liked reading about social media in the Ukraine war which is a topic that is interesting for me. What I disliked though was the obvious bias when it comes to American politics. The author tells us about homophily and confirmation bias, he doesn't deny that it affects everyone. Yet when talking in more detail we somehow never hear of how social media used it to manipulate the left side. Everything is about evil Trump. His twitter, how he won because of lies on Facebook, the Russians of course. But it looks like democrats have done nothing wrong. How could they, they are always right. We learn that the uninformed ones are more likely fall for lies. But apparently those are only conservatives. The left are too smart. Yet their politicians seem not to be smart enough to use social media for their manipulation. Or maybe they are but they are too decent for it. Give me a break. All past 4 years (at least) were a massive left wing manipulation by the media including social media. Even if the author kept on showing his bias and yet would at least bring some examples of this being done from his own political side the book would be better. The conclusion is something I absolutely disagree with. It talks about censorship that is needed online. The way it sounds to me that he wants it to be what China has, all for "harmony". It first seems nice to get rid of all the nazis and racists etc. but then one should remember that the left call anyone to the right of them a racist even if the topic has nothing to do with race. We already see the attack on the conservatives in the past month. Keep on shutting people up, they will come back. Also, it is said how in the beginning social media platforms were neutral because they saw it as a business and didn't want to turn anyone away. Well, this is what happens right now as well not some "moral awakening". The pressure from one political side that took over most business got to sites like Facebook who now obey the ones who will bring them money. So in summary, this book is really enjoyable for the information and gives one a lot to think about our modern society and the role social media has in it. How fast some information or misinformation can be spread, how it can be manipulative when using the right techniques and targets, how even small people like us can end up go viral and do a lot of change or damage, how hard it may be to see difference between truth and lie because of the massive amount of information coming at us with some very skillful liars and especially how politicians have been adjusting to it and using it for their benefit. But anyone who will not have confirmation bias in this case will easily see how one sided it is. Still doesn't delete the good parts of the book and stops one from enjoying it but one should keep it in mind.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    This is another one of the books that’s been on the TBR list for some time. While it’s not related to the overuse of social media, I thought it would be interesting to read about how social media is being used as “weapons”. LikeWar argues that social media is being used by various groups to advance their cause – from Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency to ISIS. Hence, the notion of a “war” taking place in cyberspace. Although the creators and first adopters of the internet saw it as a plac This is another one of the books that’s been on the TBR list for some time. While it’s not related to the overuse of social media, I thought it would be interesting to read about how social media is being used as “weapons”. LikeWar argues that social media is being used by various groups to advance their cause – from Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency to ISIS. Hence, the notion of a “war” taking place in cyberspace. Although the creators and first adopters of the internet saw it as a place where free speech would flourish and as a tool to take down authoritarian regimes, the book brings up several chilling examples of how this is view is flawed. One of them is China, with its famous Great Firewall. The book describes the Chinese government as vigorously and successfully pursuing the goal of “control over not just computer networks and human bodies, but the minds of their citizens as well” through “the right balance of infrastructure control and enforcement”. The Chinese government not only suppresses certain terms, they also use commentators (the infamous 50 Cent army) to spread their version of the truth. And now, they’re also using paid social media ads – just look at how they tried to spread their version of events in Hong Kong on Twitter. While there are people trying to get around the censors using various words, it seems like China is largely successful in shaping the Chinese internet in the way it wants to be. A related op-ed points out that a combination of reliance on the same censored internet and a lack of critical thinking classes mean that even the Chinese who emigrate out of China tend not to broaden their thinking. While China and other countries seeking to emulate it refine their techniques, turning the internet into several large fragments, those in countries with less control over the internet are not experiencing total freedom either. Social networks want to keep us hooked on their websites and to do that, they’ve created an echo-chamber. This has the result of amplifying extreme voices and reducing the amount of contrary opinions that we might otherwise hear. LikeWar also looks at fake news or junk news as it was originally known. Apart from the unsurprising fact that people are more likely to share shocking and sensation content (which may or may not be factual), the book also takes a look at the people who create fake news, such as the Macedonians who accidentally stumbled across this money-making opportunity, something that I thought was interesting. There’s also an interesting section on narrative. Stories that go viral tend to be simple, resonate with their target group, and contain something novel. If you can use these traits to control the narrative, you can “dictate to an audience who the heroes and villains are; what is right and what is wrong; what’s real and what’s not.” That is a lot and it made me realise that if a story makes you emotional, it’s a good idea to pause and try to figure out why it’s so – what is the value of me being emotional to the writer, what aims are there? I don’t think that every tear or rage-inducing story is necessary one meant to deceive me, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of when people want to manipulate you. If you’ve been following and worrying about how social media has been increasingly used to further different narratives, I suspect that a lot of what you read in this book will be familiar to you. Still, having all the different threads – government censorship, fake news, the echo chamber, etc – in one book creates a big impact and makes you realise that the internet now is a far cry from the way it was meant to be. Sadly, short of intervention from other companies or governments, the only things we can do is to be more critical of the things we read and be on the alert for attempts to move us in one direction or the other. This review was first posted at Eustea Reads

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jami Lilo

    An engaging read. While the subject matter can be depressing, who doesn't look at the current cyber world and cringe?, the authors keep the information quite entertaining. While learning specifics behind personal recreations, planting seeds of doubt in our brains by groups and organizations, and recruiting for actual physical war, the theme is that the internet if far more dangerous than the days of the wild west shoot outs. Like advertising, memes do their job of making people laugh or feel and An engaging read. While the subject matter can be depressing, who doesn't look at the current cyber world and cringe?, the authors keep the information quite entertaining. While learning specifics behind personal recreations, planting seeds of doubt in our brains by groups and organizations, and recruiting for actual physical war, the theme is that the internet if far more dangerous than the days of the wild west shoot outs. Like advertising, memes do their job of making people laugh or feel and then wa-lah they become truths and facts. It's frightening to say the least. It's not all bad, the book explores Anonymous and other positive people and groups fighting this international cyberwar. If you're looking to read this title for school - it's excellent and very well researched and documented. If you're reading out of curiosity or how to protect yourself as much as possible - go for it! The authors are talented and skilled at keeping the pacing fast and the verbiage is amusing, while being informative. Example: When writing about Tay, a network powered chatbot Microsoft created that adopted the speech and patterns of a teenage girl that was quickly converted by trolls on the internet into a racist, sexist, and Holocaust denier and thus quickly deleted, the writers write "After less than a day, Tay was unceremoniously put to sleep, her fevered artificial brain left to dream of electric frogs." Okay, by itself it's not as funny, but when I read it surrounded by the emotionally exhausting truths of our reality it was quite refreshing. Overall, this book will appeal to a much broader audience than one would project due to the authors' ability to make the subject matter entertaining. As a mom of teenagers, this will be on their summer reading list so that they can understand the depths of results of social media on society.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike Kanner

    [Review based on an early edition from the publisher] Singer explains it all! As he did with WIRED FOR WAR, Singer explores a new dimension to conflicts to the non-expert. In doing so, he also gives you a short history of social media and the use of media in manipulating the opinions of the public. I should also note that he does include a short discussion of how social media has changed our sense of community and American politics, including both Trump's use of Twitter as a direct line to his sup [Review based on an early edition from the publisher] Singer explains it all! As he did with WIRED FOR WAR, Singer explores a new dimension to conflicts to the non-expert. In doing so, he also gives you a short history of social media and the use of media in manipulating the opinions of the public. I should also note that he does include a short discussion of how social media has changed our sense of community and American politics, including both Trump's use of Twitter as a direct line to his supporters as well as how Russia tried to influence the election. Teaching courses in security, conflict and political rhetoric, I was fascinated by his account of how ISIS and Hamas quickly understood the additional capacity that social media gave them in promoting their cause and recruiting new members and sympathizers. I do not think that I have come across such a detailed account. It is worth the price just for this account. Although the notes constitute almost half of the e-copy I was sent by the publisher, he doesn't bog the reader down with minutia or dense academic jargon. His cases are clear and flow easily out of the discussion. I will be recommending to students in my security courses as a must read if they are interested in the changing face of warfare. Another groundbreaking book by one of the leading analysts commenting on conflicts today.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard Lawrence

    LikeWars is a well written, well researched and penetrating analysis on how powerful social media has become in influencing society, politics and our perceptions of what is real and what is not. More importantly, it attempts to chart a trajectory of how social media will evolve in the future and powerful role artificial intelligence (AI), specifically neural networks, will play in determining that trajectory. The solutions presented by the authors to the issues we are facing and will face are as LikeWars is a well written, well researched and penetrating analysis on how powerful social media has become in influencing society, politics and our perceptions of what is real and what is not. More importantly, it attempts to chart a trajectory of how social media will evolve in the future and powerful role artificial intelligence (AI), specifically neural networks, will play in determining that trajectory. The solutions presented by the authors to the issues we are facing and will face are as insightful as their observations. I would hope that every educator and policy maker here in the United States would read this book and be motivated to take action.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jon Walsh

    I have to admit, I had some severe reservations about this book, however after finishing it became clear to me that both Authors are undeniably experts in their respective fields and as such, are far more educated as to the potential negative consequences from everyday digital dust ups such as "trolling," and "fake news." I came into the book with a stringent belief in first amendment principles and was prone to seeing some of the recent censorship and calls for speech regulation as unwarrante I have to admit, I had some severe reservations about this book, however after finishing it became clear to me that both Authors are undeniably experts in their respective fields and as such, are far more educated as to the potential negative consequences from everyday digital dust ups such as "trolling," and "fake news." I came into the book with a stringent belief in first amendment principles and was prone to seeing some of the recent censorship and calls for speech regulation as unwarranted and counter to the spirit of the first amendment. However, Singer and Brooking make several valid and critical points as to the divisiveness that springs from social media and speech manipulation when left unabated. A few interesting examples dealt with nation leaders sparring on social media threads, which I would formally view as nothing other than childish squabbling, however now I have a better understanding that because of the public nature of social media, comments taken as an affront to someone often result in continued verbal escalation so as to not seem 'weak,' when viewed by other social media users. The increased aggression of these insults can and has actually then spilt over from the digital realm into actual physical violence. This is a crucial dynamic. It's not a simple call to violence on social media that poses the only problem, but rather, also increasing bitterness and caustic rhetoric than can have truly troubling consequences. This seems to illuminate the potentially dangerous consequences of what may at first glance appear to be simple "trolling" or harmless sarcastic comments directed towards those we disagree with. Another fascinating aspect of this read was the discussion on information manipulation employed by bad actors and nation states. Truly concerning were the ways in which intelligent adversaries seem capable of studying and analyzing deeply ingrained flash points within a society and then utilizing a variety of social media methods to direct and focus attention towards these points with an eye toward further exacerbating them. Equally disturbing is that these same flash points, as deployed against us by our adversaries, often serve merely as the staging ground, as they are directed towards those with profiles deemed to be sympathetic towards such movements, and then these initial seeds of strategy are in turn appropriated by citizens themselves and thus take on a new life of their own; with the citizens themselves ostensibly believing that these polarized views are actually their own ideas and beliefs...this is eerily reminiscent to forms of inception and psychological manipulation. Overall this book raised several crucial questions about what it means to be 'base' level truth, and the spread of information within the digital age, specifically within societies that value free speech and creativity. After reading, I think it becomes clear that in a nation inundated by a wide variety of 'news' sources, almost all of which have varying degrees of economical, military, and political ideologies of which they are both actively and subtly attempting to promote, it becomes a necessity to accomplish two things: 1) foster a sense of shared community and shared values between citizens under one democratically constituted framework and 2) raise and educate future generations on the merits and values of leadership and critical analysis. Leadership training will help people value the principle of compromise and shared sacrifice. Critical Analysis will make people less susceptible to manipulation through fact distortion and blatant attempts to divide peoples and therefore strengthen their ability to stand united as a cohesive entity capable of raising a defense against those committed to doing them harm. My last takeaway was to visualize an interesting comparison between 'truth' and 'falsehood' when compared to the biological life of a plant. It becomes an interesting abstraction if you think about biology in terms of psychological manipulation. If a tree is planted as a seed it is somewhat similar to attempting to plant the 'seed' of an idea within a person or nation. However, similar to plants and trees, ideas also need fertile ground from which to grow and mature into a fully realized ideal. Therefore, by studying and analyzing the nature of divisive ideas incubating throughout a system, you can potentially understand at least two things: 1) depending on the nature and context of the idea itself, you will have at least some indication as to the area of attempted penetration by foreign manipulation-although letting 'a thousand flowers bloom,' and simply putting out as much as disinformation as possible into the ether would most likely indicate a simple attempt to divide people anywhere and anytime possible, yet even still, understanding the areas of attempted manipulation becomes all the more important in order to understand where these distortions appear in context, and therefore will allow you to illuminate the inadequacies of the narrative attempting to be promulgated. Finally, reverse engineering the support systems that serve as the 'fertile' ground of these 'seeds' is perhaps the most important aspect, as revealing the sources and systems that provide the ground used to manipulate ideas and beliefs takes away perhaps the most critical aspect of the attempt itself; it's attempt to portray itself as being "organic." Once people see that their own ideas were in fact the offspring of a highly elaborate system designed to structure their beliefs into exactly the same fashion as they have been manifested, perhaps people will begin to process and analyze information more critically and as a consequence be less susceptible to such attempts at manipulation in the future. I do not envy the faceless heroes undertaking the task of helping to solve these problems for our nation, they are doing thankless work for a thankless nation, even though it is they who are most likely keeping our nation held together as one. I thank them all for their service.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mannina

    This is a book that every living person should read. It's a fascinating story of the history and evolution of the internet and social media, and an exploration of the ways in which these tools are giving corporations, foreign governments, criminals, and terrorists the most insidious form of power over unsuspecting citizens. Not the power simply to make us do what we don't want to do, but the power to shape our very perceptions, beliefs, and desires. The implications for the future of war and pea This is a book that every living person should read. It's a fascinating story of the history and evolution of the internet and social media, and an exploration of the ways in which these tools are giving corporations, foreign governments, criminals, and terrorists the most insidious form of power over unsuspecting citizens. Not the power simply to make us do what we don't want to do, but the power to shape our very perceptions, beliefs, and desires. The implications for the future of war and peace, democracy, and civilization as we know it are immense. Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    This pairs well with A Song Called Youth (which anticipates the kind of world we inhabit) and Paul Virilio's War and Cinema. In fact, I was kind of surprised that War and Cinema wasn't invoked at all in LikeWar, especially Virilio's discussion of the evolving nature of what constitutes the front line of the battlefield--now the front line is in everyone's pocket. (That would have made for a pithy summary of LikeWar.) But this is so full of totally mind-bending contemporary examples of military-c This pairs well with A Song Called Youth (which anticipates the kind of world we inhabit) and Paul Virilio's War and Cinema. In fact, I was kind of surprised that War and Cinema wasn't invoked at all in LikeWar, especially Virilio's discussion of the evolving nature of what constitutes the front line of the battlefield--now the front line is in everyone's pocket. (That would have made for a pithy summary of LikeWar.) But this is so full of totally mind-bending contemporary examples of military-civilian technology chimeras that I will definitely be incorporating elements of it into future courses--partly because it makes the philosophical response to these phenomena, namely a renewed emphasis on "critical thinking" and picking apart bad arguments, seem totally inadequate to the challenges posed by huge, multinational, military-grade disinformation operations all running at the same time and in different directions. And the phenomena described by Singer and Brooking give some non-merely-theoretical substance to extreme skepticism about testimony.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Russell Chee

    Certainly a fascinating book, though one that is, at the end, not entirely convincing. LikeWar essentially argues that with the creation of the Internet and the platforms of social media that have come to dominate it and informational processing, the true danger is not the Cyberwar predicted and anticipated by many - with many militaries across the world, for example, preparing themselves against the indiscriminate hackers of rogue nations from North Korea to Russia - but in fact a greater kind Certainly a fascinating book, though one that is, at the end, not entirely convincing. LikeWar essentially argues that with the creation of the Internet and the platforms of social media that have come to dominate it and informational processing, the true danger is not the Cyberwar predicted and anticipated by many - with many militaries across the world, for example, preparing themselves against the indiscriminate hackers of rogue nations from North Korea to Russia - but in fact a greater kind of war, something Infowars ironically summarises pithily - it's a war for our minds. LikeWar is both a history of the unique circumstances surrounding the rise of social media and its previously unimaginable consequences it has wrought on society, and a postulation that the most important consequence will be the way social media and information technology will reshape battlefields, leading to their exhortation that we as a society - on governmental, corporate and individual levels - take drastic action to defend ourselves against these dangers. While the former is certainly relevant and pressing, the latter is more questionable. Across seven chapters, the authors cover a brief history of inventions and innovations in information and communication technology, covering the printing press, the telegraph, the radio, the television and then the Internet, the authors provide a very, very compelling argument as to why the Internet is more significant than any of them - while previous media of communication allowed either for mass transmission from one to many or mass communication from many to many others, the Internet incorporates both, without any safeguards nor intermediaries. This is a wholly convincing chapter. The second chapter moves on to how social media in particular has enabled the widespread availability of information like never before, surpassing barriers of distance, language and any other conceivable blockages. The authors refer rather interestingly to the rise in significance of OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) due to the widespread availability of such information on the internet that has led to the rise of citizen journalism and investigative teams like Bellingcat. We get examples, too, of how social media has changed the world we operate in, from the instantaneity of the public response to political gaffes to the astonishing shift in disaster response effected by the immediacy of information availability on social media. In a delicious anecdote about General Michael Flynn, once known as "the general who saw the future" for his prescient prognostications about the rising importance of OSINT and social media as a battleground, the authors tell us of General Flynn's transformation into a frankly ignominious figure of disrepute, a blatantly Trumpist politico who parroted conspiracy theories and in the process fell for the very dangers of misinformation he had once warned us of. And this nicely segues into the next chapter, which exposes the reality that while information may have unprecedented availability on social media, there is also a never-before-seen level of confusion and chaos surrounding the notion of truth and factual information on social media. We learn of increasing attempts by autocratic governments to "balkanise" the Internet in an attempt to use the Internet as a tool of control rather than let it flourish as a channel of freedom; we are afforded a brief look at China's astonishingly powerful, unfree Great Firewall that erases moments from history and creates collective amnesia; we get a disturbing look at Russia's massive disinformation operation, one with distinct callbacks to the Soviet-era Operation Infektion but with far more severe consequences - we learn of RT, of sockpuppets and how social media has exponentially expedited these processes of political combat. Next, the authors sketch out the distinct contrast between veracity (as traditional media and journalism rewards) and virality (as our attention algorithms reward) and suggest that these forces shape how malicious and virtuous actors alike compete for our attention and our support on these digital platforms. We learn of homophily, the evolutionary phenomenon which draws us to those who are alike, and which has been credited with explaining the astonishing rise of conspiracy theories and unthinkable, irrational beliefs in the digital age, since anyone can find a community on social media. We learn, too, of filter bubbles, or echo chambers, resulting from personalised feeds driven by algorithms that seek to keep us glued to our screens and thus provide us with information that only reinforces, and not challenges, our existing beliefs, no matter how flawed. The authors then suggest that this is combined with an epidemic of bots on the internet that capitalise on such algorithms, cheating them in order to promote an agenda. Having done this, the authors point us to the elements that define such deliberate manipulation on social media today: crafting narratives by exploiting emotion, authenticity, community and inundation. They contend that narratives must be simple and thus comprehensible, must carry resonance and yet have a little degree of novelty - things that are evidently relevant in political campaigns today. Moving on to emotion, they contend that while pathos is always a powerful tactic in rhetoric, anger is the strongest, most provocative emotion of all, and this explains the preponderance of anger and mindless trolling on the Internet today. Linking this to authenticity, they suggest that this is partially because it exhibits the authentic desire to feel uninhibited emotions, and that social media has uniquely decoupled authenticity from any notion of fact or reality; rather, it is the projection of authenticity that matters. They suggest that the hyperbole and false facades offered by online identities are what truly allow for the superficial impression of authenticity on the Internet. What authenticity achieves is to create a sense of community, especially among those who, for sheer lack of numbers, have previously been isolated - white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and the like. The textbook example is terrorists, who project false authenticity and relatability and are thus able to recruit foreigners who feel isolated; CVE has drawn on community-building as well. A final element that drives the power of such narratives is inundation, which amplifies certain voices at the expense of others by drawing on and capitalising upon the elements mentioned above. This is, however, where the first weakness emerges. The authors draw upon Trump and his exploitation of data analytics as an instance of a successful digital campaign incorporating all the elements explored above, yet I do not necessarily feel this is convincing. After all, while the authors point to the incredible results of the micro-targeting and metadata analysis Cambridge Analytica purports to have conducted, research has in fact shown that this was rather inconsequential in the election, ultimately, especially compared to the simple fact of Donald Trump's predominant presence on social media. I do feel that they push the example too hard here to make it fit within their narrative of a deliberately, intelligently waged war. Up till this chapter, the work has generally been flawless, providing an effective but thought- (and anxiety-)provoking overview of the dangerous misuse of social media in society so far. Hereon, though, the authors attempt to argue that we can see the Internet as having shifted physical warfare as well. Indeed, they point to so-called "netwar" where political change and realities could be shifted and changed merely through online information. Here, however, the argument gets less convincing. We get a rambling and not entirely comprehensible section on memes and - believe it or not - "memetic" warfare, which apparently function as micro-skirmishes with various groups fighting to co-opt different symbols. We are told of the significance of social media in the Israel-Palestine conflict, yet I don't glean much more from this section than that social media can serve as a loudspeaker to rile up citizens or change opinions in much the same way as previous propaganda tactics - after all, the authors write dismissively of American attempts to distribute propaganda leaflets to the North Vietnamese, yet what would make Palestinians any more vulnerable to Israeli brainwashing? Next is a look at how information warfare has been harnessed by Russia in its 2014 invasion of Crimea, allowing it to distort the truth and provoke doubt and uncertainty by shifting the bounds of reality. This is somewhat more convincing, in that the incessant botnets and disinformation campaigns do have more genuine an effect in creating what Clausewitz (and the authors) refer to as the fog of war. Yet, they fail to convince me that social media and the Internet have had so profound an impact as to entirely change the rules of war, rather than merely function within existing ones. I simply cannot buy this argument because war ultimately remains physical and mechanical; cyberwar may have a genuine impact because of the complete digitisation of military (and civilian) equipment today, but LikeWar? This only seems to be a new tactic, an extension of how war is fought today, rather than something that redefines it. No nation is going to shift the focus of their defense budget from tanks and fighter planes to a social media publicity team. The final chapter is more interesting, and returns to the thorny issue of regulating these spaces of conflict - also known as the ubiquitous social media platforms that dominate our lives like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The authors again excel in providing a comprehensive look at how the thorny issue of information regulation and the line of free speech have long plagued these firms, and how the profit incentive continues to joust with that of regulation and the good of society. Importantly, the authors recognise that today's challenges of where the line between acceptable and unacceptable lies, whether or not Section 230 should stand and how to police networks ultimately pale in comparison to what is, in my view, the greatest technological challenge we will face in the next decade: the rise of advanced neural networks that can act as scriptless MADCOMS, machine-driven communication tools that function as intelligent, adaptive algorithms able to mirror human speech patterns, or as deepfakes or speech synthesis networks that can create entirely convincing yet utterly unreal images of humans saying things they had not seen in real life, indistinguishable to the human eye. Obviously, this is one of the greatest challenges facing humans today, and while some have proposed that more technology is the solution, in the form of "generative adversarial networks" that seek to train networks to identify such fakes by having them perform combat against the fakers, I find it somewhat tragic that it is a technologist who says "we are so screwed it's beyond what most of us can imagine" and yet whose techno-utopianism probably leads them to believe more technology is the only solution. Nonetheless, with the danger of rogue states developing such mindbending technology, it is imperative that we develop defensive technology to anticipate and defend against it. The conclusion is a rather effective set of instructions to various groups in society - the authors call on governments to take social media regulation and awareness seriously by promoting information literacy, and by stigmatising those who promote lies, hate and anger. This is an utterly relevant plea, given the pathetic state of, for example, the US Senate, whose utter incomprehension of the threats of social media was exposed in a frankly embarrassing session with Mark Zuckerberg where one Senator, it became evident, had little idea how social media companies even made their money. Next, the authors move on to social media firms, and this is arguably the most important yet most unattainable set of changes - he calls on firms to be more accountable by abandoning the pretense that they are merely platforms and adopt the responsibility of regulating information on their networks; he asks that they balance shareholder value maximisation with a more long-term objective of protecting societal harmony. However, the authors do not let themselves suffice with railing against corporations; they do remind individuals that it is our responsibility to think laterally and fact-check before sharing viral but false information, and allow rationality, rather than our prejudices, to prevail. An interesting note the authors make is that social media is only about 10 to 20 years old, and that at an equivalent age the automobile industry had not yet seen the invention of seat belts, airbags, emission controls or mandatory crumple zones. It is thus a reminder that the social media companies, too, are struggling to deal with the astonishing pace both of their innovation and of its ripple effects on society, and that rather than be proto-Marxists unflinchingly calling for their total regulation, it would be best to adopt individual responsibility while promoting greater action on companies' part. This is a fantastic, compelling and utterly readable book; however, I did feel that its argument about a new type of warfare is not totally convincing. Nonetheless, worth reading as a guide to the troubles plaguing society today that have arisen from social media.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aneeza

    This book is an eye-opener for everyone who uses social media, and that includes everyone. I know a lot more about LikeWar than I did before reading this book. The book starts by giving an overview of how social media, especially Twitter, played a huge role in landing Donald Trump in the oval office. By the next few chapters, I got fed-up by continues examples of 'Islamic State'. I know what ISIS stands for but I live in an Islamic State (Pakistan) and continuous use of this particular phrase in This book is an eye-opener for everyone who uses social media, and that includes everyone. I know a lot more about LikeWar than I did before reading this book. The book starts by giving an overview of how social media, especially Twitter, played a huge role in landing Donald Trump in the oval office. By the next few chapters, I got fed-up by continues examples of 'Islamic State'. I know what ISIS stands for but I live in an Islamic State (Pakistan) and continuous use of this particular phrase in a negative sense alarmed me. Example: “…unrepentantly barbaric Islamic State…” Some people who think Islam and ISIS are a synonym might develop more hate towards Muslims. The author gives examples of the way social media is used to manipulate people's opinions, from all over the world. A lot of people still have no idea about the use of bot armies and human trolls to distort information and misdirect public sentiments. In the end, the author has given a solution to cyber warfare which is directed at not only democratic governments and social media 'kings' but also towards the general public. The book is well written and researched, information is given in interesting bite-sized chapters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deane Barker

    Devastating analysis of how much we suck as humans, and how easily manipulated we are by social media. It's a long-range survey of how governments are using social media as a weapon, or force-multipler, for their own ends. Extensively researched. Seems like a long book, but it is *literally* 1/3 endnotes. Devastating analysis of how much we suck as humans, and how easily manipulated we are by social media. It's a long-range survey of how governments are using social media as a weapon, or force-multipler, for their own ends. Extensively researched. Seems like a long book, but it is *literally* 1/3 endnotes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

    Like War initially caught my eye for a personal reason. I wrote a story that was about a man who falls in love with a woman who works at a Russian styled troll factory and I used this book to fact check and color my story (I realize after writing it that I had barely scratched the surface). What I realized was that I had discovered the effect of social media was even broader than I ever thought. And that even if we were to “unplug,” the cat is out of the bag. You can no more get the influence of Like War initially caught my eye for a personal reason. I wrote a story that was about a man who falls in love with a woman who works at a Russian styled troll factory and I used this book to fact check and color my story (I realize after writing it that I had barely scratched the surface). What I realized was that I had discovered the effect of social media was even broader than I ever thought. And that even if we were to “unplug,” the cat is out of the bag. You can no more get the influence of social media out of your life than you could stop breathing, because every decision in our lives is impacted by the opinions of others, as many Americans have to understand by now. Like War is about the little battles that happen on the internet every day, and the way they have shaped the world around us, impacting events such as Brexit and the 2016 US election, along with many, many more events. This is an in depth look at the forces at play in a battle for hearts and minds, how people use disinformation to manipulate, how trolls and troll bots change the game online. And this doesn’t even get into the influence of the dark web. It doesn’t need to, because the battles are taking place in plain sight. Like War starts with a terrific overview of the history of communications that is both broad but concise, taking us from spoken to written word, through the printing press and through radio and television and internet, and how the internet has made things possible that were never possible before. It moves into chapters that examine the impact of social media on keeping secrets, on bringing down repressive governments, on the very nature of truth itself (and more) and it makes a very strong case that what we say and do on the internet causes a ripple effect, whether we realize it or not. There are effects on the way that we think that we are not even conscious of. I give this book the ultimate compliment out of my cheap-ass heart: I want it in my personal collection, if for no other reason than to refute the many lies people use to justify their viewpoints, lies that originate somewhere and get pushed out on social media and become someone’s immutable truth. If you want to make sense of our world, this is a good place to start.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    Two quotes from the book: "All social media powers were founded on the optimistic promise that a more close knit and communal world would be a better one." "We are so screwed it's beyond what most of us can imagine. And depending on how far you look into the future, it just gets worse." LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media is a history guide of how we got from the first to the second quote in such a short period of time (Facebook is only about 14 years old). Reading this book at times frustra Two quotes from the book: "All social media powers were founded on the optimistic promise that a more close knit and communal world would be a better one." "We are so screwed it's beyond what most of us can imagine. And depending on how far you look into the future, it just gets worse." LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media is a history guide of how we got from the first to the second quote in such a short period of time (Facebook is only about 14 years old). Reading this book at times frustrated me, sickened me, and pissed me off wanting to throw it across the room. Not because the book is bad, instead because it reveals in detail just how much of a Faustian bargain we have all accepted with the consumption of social media. There was so much crammed into its 273 pages of reading (with 108 pages of supporting footnotes) it's difficult to keep up without resorting to keeping your own notes (which I did). Since the book ends with the Matrix, I will as well. You can either accept the blue pill and ignore this book, or take the red pill by reading LikeWar. I highly recommend the red pill.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Inge

    Currently the most interesting read of 2018, and quite possibly, of all times. I would recommend it to anyone as it didn't feel skewed to a political side, even if there is a lot of politics discussed. Audiobook is 11 hours and 21 minutes long. Currently the most interesting read of 2018, and quite possibly, of all times. I would recommend it to anyone as it didn't feel skewed to a political side, even if there is a lot of politics discussed. Audiobook is 11 hours and 21 minutes long.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    This book will make you question quite a bit about social media and its power and influence. It covers topics as diverse as ISIS, the history of the internet, Russian election meddling, and Taylor Swift. Very informative and anyone who uses a computer should probably read this. It was well written and well researched and you will get a lot out of it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bob H

    In a month -- October 2018 -- in which self-activating, internet-inspired terrorists, from mail bombers to synagogue shooters, are more in the news than ever, this book couldn't be more timely or urgent. The authors have given us a wide-ranging and compelling look at how the internet in general, and most prominently the social media, Facebook and the rest, have turned out to be a menace. Coarsened public dialogue is the least of it, we read here, and social media have been a theater of political In a month -- October 2018 -- in which self-activating, internet-inspired terrorists, from mail bombers to synagogue shooters, are more in the news than ever, this book couldn't be more timely or urgent. The authors have given us a wide-ranging and compelling look at how the internet in general, and most prominently the social media, Facebook and the rest, have turned out to be a menace. Coarsened public dialogue is the least of it, we read here, and social media have been a theater of political espionage and outright war, driving everything from sabotaged elections to flash lynch mobs (as in India) and a component of real wars and real genocide (as with the Islamic state and the Rohingya massacres). Neither Congress nor the social media companies seem quite able to confront it. Indeed, the authors tell us, the internet is a battlefield, and: "Battle on the internet is continuous, the battlefield is contiguous, and the information it produces is contagious. The best and worst aspects of human nature duel over what truly matters most online: our attention and engagement." Some actors are beginning to challenge it, they tell us. The U.S. military now has a center at Fort Polk, LA, that wargames online threats and conflicts, especially those abutting real-life theaters of war as in Eastern Europe. Some of the social media companies are programming in ways to counter dangerous or defamatory speech and to deal with online terrorism. Congressional hearings continue, for whatever good they may do. But, it's no spoiler to say that the authors show us that social media platforms are only now maturing, it's still largely an uncontrolled and lawless frontier out there, and there's a lot of catching up to do. Highly recommend.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.