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LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  164 ratings  ·  28 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Michael Burnam-Fink
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing

"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
Peter Mcloughlin
I wish this book had had its recommendations implemented before 2016. But closing the barndoor might keep a few remaining horses inside. Social Media that dumpster fire that we can't escape has become the nervous system of the body politic of most nations and is a theater of offensive and defensive warfare although the offense has the upper hand. Social media is used by a huge swath of humanity and is subject to new forms of manipulation more powerful than its predecessors. The election of Donal ...more
Maru Kun
Oct 30, 2018 marked it as to-read
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
11811 (Eleven)
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.

Jill Elizabeth
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jami Lilo
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Michael D. Kanner
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
[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
Nov 19, 2018 added it
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 ...more
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 ...more
Aneeza Rafiq
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Deane Barker
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collection
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.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
David Goode
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read...most important book I've read in some time. Highlights the manipulation of social media and it's effect on the divisiveness in civil discourse and beyond
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb. Gripping. Terrifying, even for people who believe they understand the potential of what we have unleashed. A must-read for digital citizens.
Bob H
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Terrific book that explores the implications of social media on war and national security
David Leo
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A disturbing and necessary account of how bot armies and human trolls have taken warfare into cyberspace.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on the weaponization of social media.
All these different topics — American politics, ISIS, music — go viral the same way. Is this something essential to the architecture of the technology — as well as human psychology?

“There may be no more secrets, but the truth can be buried under a sea of lies. You can challenge people’s very idea of reality.”

Other countries now look at the US and say, “don’t let this happen to us.” As with every other libertarian initiative, eventually, the lib
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A very interesting, though worrying study about the influence of social media in areas that we don’t necessarily consider ‘social’, such as the political world, or even as warfare. The past few years especially (but not only) have led to quite important changes in how people use internet in general and social media in particular, with the advent of giants such as Facebook, and other easy access platforms like Tw
Jonathan Kadmon
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read in today's world. I was especially blown away by the section on the propaganda uses by totalitarian states, with a lengthy discussion of the russian model of turning censorship on its head by burying the truth in a sea of lies so dense the truth gets lost or ignored. The book discusses the various ways different kinds of actors have weaponized information on a whole new level via social media and the broader implications thereof. The inescapable conclusion is that propaganda and info ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meticulously researched and systematically laid out, Likewar is an eye-opening analysis of the modern social media milieu and how the myriad of interactions among strangers, friends, architects of propaganda, politicians, celebrities, entertainers, warmongers, peacemakers, enemies, and likeminded people in the virtual world directly shapes our physical realities. The book is alternatingly entertaining, terrifying, insightful, and informative. I think it’s a must-read for our times.
John Mccandlish
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-politics
Very educational book for me. I knew this existing but not all the techniques and the depth of using social media. Some parts were a little dry for me, but that was related to the specific subject area. The authors need to employ their knowledge to get the key points of this book to go viral. Most people just aren't going to take the time to read it - even though we all should.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: waiting-reading
Good research on a hard topic, and well written. Unfortunately, once again falls at being bit too short (specially the chapter, and perhaps the most important one of that, dealing with "What should we do about this ?").
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Big Social Media is the Big Tobacco of our time. The book gets high marks from me because it is one the first to offer a readable history of influence operations and information war in age of Twitter and Facebook.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read.
Jeremy Dunning
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2018
Christopher Collins
rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2018
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Peter Warren Singer is Strategist and Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. He previously was Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution and the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in Brookings's 99-year history. He has been named by CNN to their "New Guard" List of the Next Generation of Newsmakers, by the Smithsonian Institution-Nationa ...more