Separating truth from fake news is more difficult today than ever. When it comes to conflict, both domestically on the political front and internationally with terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (IS), social media is now the handy weapon of choice. It provides a theater of political espionage and outright war, driving everything from sabotaged elections to flash lynch mobs, as in India, and a component of real wars and real genocide, as with IS and the Rohingya massacres. While celebrities can employ Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to connect with their fans, terrorist groups such as IS and al-Qaeda employ it to spread their propaganda and recruit disenfranchised Muslims from all corners of the world.
Although the internet first served as a revolutionary medium in support of individual freedoms, it took a dark turn when totalitarian regimes started blocking it and, eventually, (mis)using its power for their own evil agendas. It also took a nastier role still when terrorists started employing it to kill.
Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media, written by the defense experts P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, is a thorough and well-written book on how social media is being employed in war and politics. It is an absolutely essential volume read to understand the nature of today’s reality. The authors bring a strong historical take on the internet and social media as well as many insights into our present-day situation. They have produced an up to date book that lays out just how social media is being used for terrorism and manipulated for political and military gains.
The book starts off with the current conflicts and events that drive the web and the world and then moves on to the history of the internet. Later it discusses how current events are played out on the internet, with the focus on how online activities affect and challenge the real world and vice versa.
It covers a wide range of phenomena, including Donald J. Trump and the 2016 election, Russian government trolls, the Alt-Right, IS, and the IDF’s tactics, in a comprehensive thesis about the changing face of war and the dangers of social media. The authors’ warning is serious – they start arguing their case by emphasizing Clausewitz’s motto that “war is a continuation of politics by other means” and likening the virtual spaces of the internet to the physical spaces of war. In fact, they make the case that, from now on, the fate of elections and wars is dependent on what happens on social media.
With four billion individuals on social media, computers, tablets, and smart phones are connecting people and allowing the flow of ideas at a pace never seen before in human history. In fact, the internet has evolved from being a complex yet promising world engaged in the every day instantaneous distribution of information to an entity that, if misused, threatens the foundations of liberal democracy. Hostile propaganda is slipping into Western social platforms in the form of bots and agents and distracting people, or, as some would put it, “social media is war propaganda on steroids”.  It is so formidable that it succeeded in winning elections and casting countries into chaos (i.e. the Arab spring). War on social media is what the authors call the “war in the open”, “the war you cannot see”, and the “war between everyone”. In these “new wars for attention and power,” winning the online battle will lead to gains in the offline battle.
Furthermore, the book presents a great analysis of how the internet has and is affecting countries’ behaviours and strategies in defending their interests and governing their citizens. They argue that social media ought to be understood through the analytic lenses we have applied to information warfare over the centuries, beginning with Vvon Clausewitz and continuing through all the old warhorses of the strategic studies canon. This is a novel approach, especially in the popular literature, and, as the book demonstrates, an insightful one.
As the ‘enemy’ is conquering our minds, impacting our emotions, and redirecting out perspectives about all sorts of life, and as we don’t know what the future holds or how this new ‘war’ will end, nations are investing more in cyber security and increasingly struggling to protect their citizens and elections from foreign subversion and interference. The challenge for democracy and the war to defend it will be fought in the borderless space of the virtual world. For instance, fear mongering, conspiracy theories, racist attitudes, and fake news are the norm in today’s world. One example the authors give is a Tea Party Twitter account focused on anti-immigrant and pro-Trump propaganda that succeeded in feeding its message to 22k subscribers in a short period of time. Not to mention that fake news spreads faster and 100 times further than true news. 
We are losing control of our lives in unprecedented forms.  According to Yuval Noah Harari , the future is, if anything, darker. With the advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biotechnology and the combination between the two, the danger in the coming years is not hacking of our bank accounts and or e-mails, but hacking of our brains. Harari inserts that we are entering the era of becoming hackable animals. Advances in machine learning and AI allow ever for more realistic bots, computer generated Deep Fakes where lawmakers and politicians can be programmed and manipulated to target people with exactly “the propaganda that they will believe” and defend.
To prepare for this unknown and frightening future, states need to get serious and put more funds into the governance and protection of emerging technologies. This volume is a guide for the new warfare in this century. It is a great reference for scholars, journalists, and engaged citizens who are concerned about the dangers surrounding their lives by the Weaponization of AI and social media.
 Gideon Lichfield (2017). 21st-century propaganda: A guide to interpreting and confronting the dark arts of persuasion. https://qz.com/978548/introducing-our-obsession-with-propaganda/.
 Steve Lohr. (2018). It’s True: False News Spreads Faster and Wider. And Humans Are to Blame.
 Frank Bruni (2018). The Internet Will be the Death of us. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/30/opinion/internet-violence-hate-prejudice.html
 Aljazeera (2018). Hackable humans and digital dictators: Q&A with Yuval Noah Harari