Two defense experts investigate the present and future of conflict in a world where the front lines are only a click away.
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.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
An Amazon Best Book of the Year (2018)
Named by Foreign Affairs as one of the “Best Books of 2018”
Featured on NPR, CBSN, MSNBC, PBS, and ABC News Radio, as well as in the New York Times, the Washington Post,Time,Popular Science,Rolling Stone,Forbes, the Atlantic,Wired,Slate,Politico,Gizmodo,Foreign Affairs,Defense One, Vox, the Daily Beast, Adweek, and more
LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.—BookList (starred review)
“LikeWar is an engaging and startling work.” —Vice-Motherboard
“Excellent… It is a deeply researched page-turner.”—Foreign Policy
“a fantastic read”—The LoopCast
“Fascinating book”—CBS News
“Favorite book of 2018”—Munich Security Conference
“an excellent book”—American Bar Association
“Essential reading for anyone interested in how social media has become an important new battlefield in a diverse set of domains and settings.”—O’Reilly Media
“A compelling read… LikeWar…is not a warning about tomorrow’s war — it’s a map for those who don’t understand how the battlefield has already changed”—Washington Post
“LikeWar: The Weaponisation of Social Media” is a book that anyone active in social media should read. That is everyone.”—Irish Tech News
“The stories Singer and Brooking tell and the lessons they teach are fundamental for military leaders at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war…..a blueprint on how to think, operate and survive in this operational environment.”—Army Magazine
“Consider Likewar: The Weaponization of Social Media your must-read book of 2019. Informative, insightful, yet also cautionary.”—Chicago Now
“The most important book of 2018 should be required reading for informed citizens”—Named “Best Security, Business, and Technology Book of 2018” by OODA-Loop
“Invigorating…The biggest revelation in Singer and Brooking’s work is that the fog of real data, fake news, manipulated bot wars, expensive hashtag battles, planted blogs and real, visceral human outrage are not describing a world that is coming. They are explaining and detailing the realities of the world we already live in.”— The News (Pakistan)
“…a thorough and well-written book on how social media is being employed in war and politics. It is an absolutely essential read to understand the nature of today’s reality.”—EER
“…Fantastic. LikeWar includes interviews with everyone from Michael Flynn to Spencer Pratt. It doesn’t get better than that for a national security/reality tv-watching nerd like me.”—Just Security
“….Being ignorant of, and worse yet denying, these real threats to our cohesion as a country and to the global community of citizens, is no longer a choice and every individual, every organization, every country has to decide what role they will play in this battlefield and bears responsibility for the ultimate outcome. Reading LikeWar may be, for many, the right first step.”—CipherBrief
“Backed by over 100 pages of notes, LikeWar is sober, deeply researched, and still compulsively readable. Comparisons to On War and The Art of War are apt…”—Amazon Best Book of the Month selection
“Seriously. If you use social media in any capacity, you should read this.”—The Verge
“LikeWar is a magical combination of history, technology, and early warning wrapped in a compelling narrative of how today’s information space can threaten the truth, our polity, and our security. It’s a page turner, too, chock full of deep insights and fascinating detail. Sun Tzu tells us to know ourselves, our enemy and our battle space and LikeWar delivers on all three.”—General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, author of The Assault on Intelligence
“Online technology has outrun our social intuitions about its power. In vivid prose, Singer and Brooking offer insight into the ways that social media can be used to manipulate beliefs and attitudes for self-serving purposes.” —Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the internet, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
“Much as Clausewitz did for conventional war, LikeWar lays out the new 21st century principles of war. Mixing fascinating stories and the front edge of research, it explains the twilight battlegrounds of politics and war on social media—a frightening future where truth is the first casualty, and our fundamental values are deeply at danger. I loved it.”—Admiral James Stavridis, US Navy (Ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
“Reading LikeWar will help you to avoid being part of this Internet of Idiots…While students of history, strategic studies, political science, and international relations will all find LikeWar on their required reading list, anyone else who wishes to understand the world we live in must add LikeWar to the top of the pile on their nightstand.”—Forbes
“The picture Singer and Booking paint of how social media is being weaponized is compelling, and one that ought to give pause to any practitioner in the field of national security. I am reluctant to be so effusive in my praise, but this is truly a must-read book.”—Lawfare
“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 fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, present a historical overview of the Internet and trace how social media has been implemented to terrorize and control and to reshape war. They provide specific examples of groups and countries taking advantage of online platforms, from radicalization by ISIS to disinformation campaigns and information throttling conducted by Russia, China, and North Korea, including extensive coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The authors also clearly explain how these campaigns succeed, with in-depth descriptions of the echo chambers and confirmation bias that dominate media and reinforce the goals of this war: dismiss, distort, distract, dismay, and ultimately divide. The last chapter expands upon the culpability and role of those controlling the platforms. This book is extremely well documented. Librarians will be especially heartened by the authors’ assertion that “information literacy is no longer merely an education issue but a national security imperative.” VERDICT An important first purchase for all collections.&rdquo...
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