LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media
In their new book LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, authors Peter W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking study what social media has been doing to politics, news, and war around the world, drawing upon everything from historic cases to the latest in AI and machine intelligence. They track dozens of conflicts in every corner of the globe, studying the spread of YouTube battle clips, a plague of Nazi-sympathizing cartoon frogs, and even enlist in a digital army themselves.  of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts?

In the remainder of this post, I share my notes from while I watched the video.

A Russian disinformation tactic – bury the truth under a sea of alternative theories

Reward virality, not veracity. The salacious is sexier than facts.

Terrorists and non-state actors using these techniques…and then to a political campaign, state actors (Russia). Reminds me of guerilla warfare tactics being picked up by more traditional groups.

You can study it…or, since we’re part of it…we can join the fight through the use of apps and

One of the leaders is Israel in this space…use of social media, information, etc. Israel was having students pay attention to information online….and interact with the media to sway it

Apps that are gamified and have individuals serve their state, side, or military to sway information by adding positive comments and social media based on what the app says they should share.

Israeli military used these tactics

– have to weave a compelling storyline…create a narrative..own the narrative..used by military, political campaigns, the Kardashians…not really distraction (as per Trump tweets) it’s controlling the narrative
– authenticity…someone should feel like a real person online. Use of social media to let people know that you’re watching. “Tay-lurking”…community, the Internet brings people together…you cannot have community without someone not being included.

Experimentation and inundation…social media sending out tons of messages, to see what message works…and then double/triple down on the messages that work. The remainder of the other messages muddy up the facts

Homophily – exposure and support of thinking in social networks
as you keep seeing it, you believe it more…awareness equals potential agreement

Active measures working group…bring in spies, hackers, educators. We had this in the past when we looked at third world countries. The battle ground is here now, but we don’t have this “active measures” discussion.

Social media hygiene…& understanding how you can be manipulated

Manipulating your attention, controlling the narrative, etc.

Where is the verification, validation, etc. as people read on Facebook, Twitter, etc?

From the movie Rounders – If you sit at a poker table, and you don’t know who the mark is…you’re the mark

Creators of social media networks…may currently be going through stages of grief, and denial as a parent as they see bad actors coming in and taking over their tools, texts, and spaces for evil

Is this (social media) adding to war, or replacing? If it is adding, and creating unexpected consequences, should they pay a cost for this? Or should it be banned? We see the challenges and regulations with automobiles, drug manufacturers, etc.

It is adding to war, but it doesn’t replace violence. It’s adding and complicating this danger.

We might look at social networks and think…I want you to like me, Russians look at these connections and networks and say…I want to create distrust, disarray, division. So, when some dissension occurs, they spring into action to create these “like war” tactics.

observe orient decide act (OODA) loop

A difference between free speech…and then dangerous speech.

Companies want to introduce new technologies to solve problems with “old” technologies. So, we see questions about whether or not to use AI and bots to solve problems with fake news and comments. But, do bots need to identify themselves? Do they need to tell you that they’re not “real”?

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