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Book Review: "Messing With The Enemy" By Clint Watts



Title: "Messing With The Enemy Surviving In A Social Media World Of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, And Fake News"

Author: Clint Watts

Published: 2018


SUMMARY

Clint Watts’ account of his professional career working at several government agencies and his side-hobby of confronting international terrorists on the internet was thrilling from the beginning. Watts speaks of his encounters with Omar Hammami (American born terrorist of al-Shabaab, Somalia) on Twitter, his tracking of Russian trolls, and dealing with threats from al-Qaeda and ISIS through social media. He also covers scandals in detail such as the 2016 U.S. election hacking, the Wikileaks dumps, propaganda and disinformation campaigns, and more. Every intricacy that is usually overlooked when using social media is broken down, analyzed, and explained as a tool for social manipulation. For the reader, “Messing With The Enemy” uncovers the veil over what is true and what is not, reducing the complexity of the social media landscape.


THOUGHTS

With every crazy thing going on today in the media, politics, and tech, I found this book fascinating! It is a must read for everyone, especially the younger generations. Clint Watts has delved into a deeper problem that our society has only scratched the surface of; how social media is being used to manipulate us and influence our minds without us even knowing it.


This book shows the reality that we, as humans, are literally as plugged into the internet as the devices we use, and that can seriously have a negative impact on our professional decision making, critical thinking skills, and social awareness. After reading this book, it definitely makes you want to take a step back from your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to take a breather.


Personally, it made me reflect on all of the ways that I was being slightly manipulated on the internet, with the ads, recommendation systems, and news sites. Now I always use the Media Bias Ratings AllSides website to check where a news site politically and socially leans.

I believe that all human users (not bots or botnets) can benefit from learning the intricacies of social media influence that “Messing With The Enemy” reveals. Afterwards, we can then work on how to use social media more safely, responsibly, and effectively to separate ourselves from its harmful crowd control.


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