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Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media (Zoom Program)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 | 3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT


A Discussion for Judges with the Author, Emerson T. Brooking

Moderated by Land Court Judge Robert B. Foster

From the Publisher: “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.”

For more information, please visit: https://www.likewarbook.com/

Emerson T. Brooking is a Washington, DC-based writer and an expert on the relationship between social media and conflict. Most recently, he was Research Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations—the youngest researcher in a generation to receive such an appointment. He has served as an adviser on information warfare to the National Security Council, Joint Staff, and U.S. intelligence community.

Previously, Brooking was Research Associate for Defense Policy, also at the Council on Foreign Relations. In that capacity, he studied defense budgeting and strategy, the national security bureaucracy, and civil-military relations. His coauthored report, “Mending the Broken Dialogue: Military Advice and Presidential Decision-Making,” marked the culmination of a years-long study of defense institutions and use-of-force deliberations.

Brooking’s coauthored November 2016 cover story for the Atlantic, “War Goes Viral,” was the most prominent article to predict the weaponization of social media. His exclusive November 2015 report for Foreign Policy, “Anonymous vs. the Islamic State,” offered the first glimpse of a phenomenon that soon became a national story. Brooking has published additional work in WIRED, Popular Science, and the National Interest. He has provided commentary on defense and internet-related topics to NPR.

Brooking holds a BA in Political Science and Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where his thesis—a study of Roman counter-revolt practices—won the departmental prize.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021
3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT
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