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 experts P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking.
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)
Featured on NPR, CBSn, MSNBC, PBS, and ABC News Radio, as well as in The New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Popular Science, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Atlantic, Wired, Slate, Politico, Gizmodo, Foreign Affairs, Defense One, Vox, The Daily Beast, Adweek, and more
“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.”
“Seriously. If you use social media in any capacity, you should read this.”
“Extremely timely and fascinating.”
—The New York Times, New & Noteworthy
“Terrific and alarming . . . Wow.”
—SE Cupp, CNN
“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.”
“Whether it's his fiction and nonfiction, his work as a TRADOC 'mad scientist,' the interviews he's done with defense media, the pages of Popular Science, or some other venue, P.W. Singer is the Army's must-read thinker.”
“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 (Oct)
“'Russia is not the full story," Singer tells Codebook. 'Russia is just a chapter in a larger book.' Singer, a researcher at the New America think tank, means that both figuratively and literally. His and Brooking's book, 'LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media,' comes out today. It may be the first study to link Mexican cartels, ISIS and reality TV villain Spencer Pratt.”
“A fantastic read.”
“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.”
“It’s clear that the information in LikeWar is vital to our national security; however, that’s not the real reason why I enjoyed the book so much. I liked the book just because it was highly readable and entertaining.... It’s a fun read, sure, but best of all is that every time I put down LikeWar, I felt that I had learned something new and important....This book and the information it contains is that vital. I highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in national security, international relations, journalism, or history.”
“...Essential reading if today’s Leaders (both in and out of uniform) are to understand, defend against, and ultimately wield the non-kinetic, yet violently manipulative effects of Social Media.”
—US Army Training and Doctrine Command
"....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."
“This book deserves a place on the bookshelf of every corporate strategist and government leader.”
“LikeWar is an eye-opening literary experience. Most of us access social media in some form on a near-daily basis, but do we really understand the phenomenon?”
—Modern War Institute at West Point
“Although the book is titled Like War, it isn’t so much about warfare as about how social media is affecting society broadly: how we consume information, why social media is so addictive, how it has been capitalized on by social movements, celebrities, politicians, terrorists, and states. It’s worth reading for the history of the Internet alone, which bounces along as vignettes about individuals that personalize the story (they clearly apply the elements of effective social media they identify: narrative, emotion, authenticity, community, and inundation)...A valuable primer on where social media came from and how its currently being used. It also has some useful suggestions for taming its effects.”
—War on the Rocks
“...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.”
“This timely work provides a fascinating and often frightening portrait of the many ways social media is being weaponized and used to manipulate . . . 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.”
—Library Journal, STARRED review
“Important resource...more than 100 pages of source notes attest to the thoroughness of their research, and Singer and Brooking have gone to very dark cyber places to bring these facts to light, analyzing ideas and organizations that may give readers nightmares and that can catalyze actual violence. LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.”
—Booklist, STARRED review
“Few grasp the real threat Americans face on their favorite social networks in the course of their daily experiences. Through amusing vignettes and plenty of pop-culture references, the authors take us on a wild ride featuring everything from reality TV stars to Russian missiles. My take? Like and share.”
—Crispin Burke, Task & Purpose“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,
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