LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct 2, 2018 - Political Science - 400 pages
Two defense experts explore the collision of war, politics, and social media, where the most important battles are now only a click away.

Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet. Terrorists livestream their attacks, “Twitter wars” produce real‐world casualties, and viral misinformation alters not just the result of battles, but the very fate of nations. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones.

P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking tackle the mind‐bending questions that arise when war goes online and the online world goes to war. They explore how ISIS copies the Instagram tactics of Taylor Swift, a former World of Warcraft addict foils war crimes thousands of miles away, internet trolls shape elections, and China uses a smartphone app to police the thoughts of 1.4 billion citizens. What can be kept secret in a world of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts?

Delving into the web’s darkest corners, we meet the unexpected warriors of social media, such as the rapper turned jihadist PR czar and the Russian hipsters who wage unceasing infowars against the West. Finally, looking to the crucial years ahead, LikeWar outlines a radical new paradigm for understanding and defending against the unprecedented threats of our networked world. 

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User Review  - superpatron -

There's not a coherent narrative to this book - much like the social media it describes, it jumps from topic to topic and from timespan to timespan awkwardly. 100+ pages of notes. Read full review

LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

User Review  -

This timely work provides a fascinating and often frightening portrait of the many ways social media is being weaponized and used to manipulate. Singer (Wired for War) and Brooking, a former research ... Read full review


An Introduction to LikeWar
How the Internet Changed the World
Social Media and the End of Secrets
Censorship Disinformation and the Burial of Truth
The Business of Veracity vs Virality
The New Wars for Attention and Power
The Conflicts That Drive the Web and the World
The New Rules and Rulers of LikeWar
What Do We Know What Can We Do?
Back Matter
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About the author (2018)

P. W. SINGER is a strategist at New America, an editor at Popular Science, and the author of several best-selling books, including Wired for War and Ghost Fleet.
EMERSON T. BROOKING is a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has written for the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and Popular Science.

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