Lie Machines How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives Philip N. Howard

Publication date:
23 Jun 2020
Yale University Press
240 pages: 216 x 140mm
Sales territories:

A disturbing account of how today’s technologies are used to distract, mislead, and confuse us about politics—and what we can do about it

Artificially intelligent “bot” accounts bolster or berate politicians on Twitter. Conspiracy theorists publish junk news sites to promote their bunk. Campaigners create fake dating profiles to attract young voters. We live in a world of technologies that jeopardize, in turn, our attention, our discourse, and our democracies. Harnessing information garnered from polling data, internet postings, and interviews with journalists, bot writers, and political consultants, Philip N. Howard offers a way to identify and derail these “lie machines.” Full of riveting behind-the-scenes stories from the world’s biggest and most damagingly successful misinformation initiatives—including those used in Brexit and the U.S. presidential election—Howard not only shows how these campaigns have evolved from older propaganda operations but also gives new insight into why they are so effective at swaying public opinion.

Philip N. Howard is director of the Oxford Internet Institute and the author of nine books, including Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up. He is a frequent commentator on the impact of technology on political life, contributing to the New York Times, Financial Times, and other media outlets.