NPR 4 THE DEAF: Weaponization Of Social Media

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FRESH AIR: The New York Times just reported that in 2016 Rick Gates, then-deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump, requested proposals from an Israeli company to create fake online identities and use social media manipulation to help defeat Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination in the primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election. The proposals were apparently never acted on, but we know that Russian operatives made effective use of Facebook and Twitter in seeking to influence the 2016 presidential campaign. Our country is hardly the only one in which political opinions have been manipulated by millions of fake social media accounts promoting messages that are slanted or even made up. Our guests today, P.W. Singer and Emerson Brooking, say that social media has also been weaponized in ways that most of us remain unaware of, like fueling popular uprisings and affecting the course of military campaigns. For instance, when the Israeli army moved into Gaza in 2012, the operation was supported by a viral marketing campaign. P.W. Singer is a strategist at New America, a consultant for the U.S. military and intelligence community and the author of several books. Emerson T. Brooking writes about conflict and social media and was recently a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. FRESH AIR’S Dave Davies spoke to them about their new book, “Like War: The Weaponization Of Social Media.” MORE