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LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  867 ratings  ·  163 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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Kathleen
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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,
...more
Eric_W
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jenna
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
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 ...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
...more
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.


Amen.
...more
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
Sirana
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
Joshua Bowen
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kressel Housman
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Kent Winward
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
...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
Eustacia Tan
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nlb-ereads
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
...more
Sidney Johnson
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Ryan Mannina
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Nat
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 ...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
...more
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.
David
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Kent
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Inge
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.
Craig
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.
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
Val
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an elucidating and timely read, for people who know only the basics of online social media and for people with extensive cyber knowledge. The authors explain some technical aspects of social media only as deeply as needed for a reader to understand how various social media platforms work and why that matters to their reach and effectiveness. However, the primary purpose for these co-authors is not to give Social Media 101. The real purpose of this book is to serve as a warning to ...more
John
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.
Daniel
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Terrific book that explores the implications of social media on war and national security
Jens
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I expected the book to talk about war, but it mainly talks about influencing objectivity. Starting with a long history of communication technology, it goes on to highlight how far-reaching the impact of social media is on all aspects of our lives. The factalmostall the conclusions talk about government issues shows the book really isn't about 'war'.To be fair, the book is a good wake-up call to assess all information on social media in a critical way. After all, a little fatalistic, but short ...more
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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 101-year history. Described in the Wall Street Journal as “the premier futurist in the national- security environment," has been named by the ...more
“Does a retweet actually mean endorsement? For Dion Nissenbaum, the answer to this question landed him in a Turkish prison.” 1 likes
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