LikeWar
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.

LikeWar Details

TitleLikeWar
Author
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherEamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328695741
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Politics, Science, Technology, War, Social Science, Social Media, Sociology

LikeWar Review

  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    January 1, 1970
    "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.
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  • Peter Mcloughlin
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 Donald Trump is exhibit A for the damage this technology can inflict. As we attempt to salvage our political system in the aftermath of 2016 social media is also attempting to take measure against the kind of manipulation that hate groups and extremists have used so well to trash our democracy. The book lays out how social media is subject to manipulation and the techniques involved. It is good at diagnosis and has a few medicinal recommendations. Lessons for the gobsmacked.
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  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Maru Kun
    January 1, 1970
    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 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
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  • 11811 (Eleven)
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Joshua Bowen
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Sirana
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kressel Housman
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Jami Lilo
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Michael D. Kanner
    January 1, 1970
    [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.
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  • Kent Winward
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Richard Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Ryan Mannina
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Nat
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Aneeza Rafiq
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Deane Barker
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Inge
    January 1, 1970
    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
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    Superb. Gripping. Terrifying, even for people who believe they understand the potential of what we have unleashed. A must-read for digital citizens.
  • Sidney Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 to the potential dangerous consequences of what may seem at first to be simple "trolling" or harmless sarcastic comments directed towards those we disagree with. Another fascinating aspect of this read was the 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 capture attention towards these points with an eye toward further exacerbating them. Equally disturbing is that the initial concepts as deployed, 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 reappropriated by citizens themselves and thus take on a new life of their own, with these citizens ostensibly believing that these polarizing beliefs are actually their own concepts and ideas - remarkably similar to forms of inception and psychological manipulation. Overall this book raised several crucial questions about 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.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Bob H
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    Thought Provoking and Insightful. This book is aptly timed and offers a great deal of insight as to what is actually occurring when you click the like/ share button, and how the landscape of both good and evil has changed. The amount of research conducted is profoundly evident in the vastness of the notes pages, yet distilled into a thought provoking and engaging read of under 300 pages. I would recommend this book to a large swath - technology and social media enthusiasts, military and law enfo Thought Provoking and Insightful. This book is aptly timed and offers a great deal of insight as to what is actually occurring when you click the like/ share button, and how the landscape of both good and evil has changed. The amount of research conducted is profoundly evident in the vastness of the notes pages, yet distilled into a thought provoking and engaging read of under 300 pages. I would recommend this book to a large swath - technology and social media enthusiasts, military and law enforcement, political leaders, etc. P.S. Please “like” my review.
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  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting read. I had read other books by Singer and this was probably the least interesting of the three. The topic was good but the flow of the book was just ok.I'm thinking that the book maybe should have been written in another 2-3 years once all of the details come out from our current administration?
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  • Frank Mistretta
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best books I have ever read. I would say this is required reading for anyone who uses the internet and wants to know what happened in the 2016 US Election, how social media is being used in the future, and what to look out for so you won't be manipulated. An added benefit is if you are on the fence about deleting social media this book will definitely give you the motivation to follow through with it.
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  • Mr Fabio Scalici
    January 1, 1970
    Eye opening book
  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    Terrific book that explores the implications of social media on war and national security
  • John DeRosa
    January 1, 1970
    Update: I revised my review and downgraded my ratings because of the overly journalistic approach of the authors trying to pass as authentic assessment of this natsec challenge. Frankly requires deeper reflection on what the volume of stories actually means.
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