At the beginning of October, P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking’s new book „LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media“ was published.
Although hundreds of books on Social Media topics have been written over the past few years, „just another book on Social Media“ cannot be said about this vast work. At just under four hundred pages, it discusses in detail how the internet became a communication medium and its further development as well as the impact on society throughout the entire planet.
The authors have been collecting and analyzing the material over and over again and this book has now given confirmation to five fundamental truths: the internet’s growing up time is over; the internet has become a battlefield; this battlefield has changed the concept of winning; this battle changes the meaning of „war“; we all are part of this „war“.
The book is darkly serious reading, which includes explanations on how both the internet and the communication medium began the symbiosis of waging battle and information as well as various theories supporting the focus of the book. It also has a large amount of examples on how the electronic network has been used in various conflict situations.
The authors submit dozens of examples as well as their analyzes on the entire period of the internet since its conception. From the days when it was necessary when communicating on the internet to phone „in“ to another computer using a modem right up until, for example the influencing of the elections in 2018.
There are dozens of concrete examples in the book including those that have been written about in traditional media as well as examples that by enlarge the public has never seen.
Along with the use of Social media by Trump, Russia’s influence activities as well as the development of Belligcat there also numerous examples of resistance movements, the evening of scores by gangs in Social Media, citizen news press actions to tackle drug trafficking, as well as simple examples of how casual Social Media postings have become globally important.
One of the reasons for the author’s claim that the internet’s growing up time is over is confirmed on the basis of the written examples of several books, which unfortunately often ends with the death of the hero of the story.
One such example is Felin’s story, who launched a Facebook page on gang wars in Tamaulipas, which shared through (crowdsourcing) gathered information on dangerous areas and streets right up to actual photographs of gang members. The site had over half a million followers as well it increased the sense of security for the people. The Cartel, to whom the anonymously managed site was a nuisance, put out a bounty of 600,000 pesos ($48,000) for information leading to the identification of the administrator of the site.
On October 16, 2014, Felina’s twitter account posted a message: „Friends and family, my name is Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio. I am a physiologist. Today my life ended“. Two photos were streamed on Twitter, of which the first was of a middle-aged woman looking straight into the camera as well as another with the same woman lying on the floor with a bullet hole in her forehead.
To summarize, we have to say that the book should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the development of the internet and the Social medium. It brings a striking addition to all sorts of stories on youtubers, bloggers and commercial influencers and it shows that the internet communication medium is significantly much larger than we daily realize.