The Reality Game Book Cover

The Reality Game

How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth
Publishing Year: 2020
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What’s inside

Disinformation and false rumours have become a large part of the content we encounter on online platforms nowadays. Samuel Woolley, in this compelling book, shows how online technologies can be misused by demagogues and authoritarian governments, to control people’s will, and spread propaganda. The Reality Game presents an unsettling picture of the future, where bleeding edge technology meant for our betterment, can also be weaponized by political forces, to manipulate our will and lives.

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Lesson 1. Introduction.

Social media is increasingly being used as a political weapon. Political organizations and authoritarian governments are using social media to strengthen their grip on citizens, and to push their agendas. 

Even democracies aren’t immune to this. During the 2016 Presidential election in the US, Donald Trump’s team launched a highly sophisticated digital campaign – thousands of fake social media accounts were created to propagate his agendas. The British campaign promoting Brexit too featured a similar tactic. Both the Brexiteers and Trump launched a barrage of disinformation, which led them to victory. 

The real problem, Woolley argues, is the misuse of social media. Executives of the social media giants too are reluctant to use an iron hand to stop this. As a result, social media is increasingly being used to ‘hack’ democracy, as Woolley demonstrates. 

At the end, Woolley shares possibilities regarding how such rogue elements on online platforms can be thwarted.    

Lesson 2. How misuse of new age social media has eroded faith in democracy.

The faith of citizens around the world, in democracy, has begun to dwindle. A 2018 Gallup poll revealed that, over the last four and a half decades, the percentage of Americans who trusted the Congress, had dropped from 43 to 11. 

This trend is visible not just in the US, but across the globe. Countries always known to have been the bastions of democracy – like Italy, South Africa, Brazil - now have their citizens increasingly suspicious of this form of governance. How can we explain this surge of distrust in democratic institutions? 

The old media of the past was much responsible for maintaining people’s faith in democracy. Earlier, the TV presenter or the newspaper columnist was the one who spread the information; thousands of people received it. The news anchor and the journalist tried to remain as objective as possible. A view or information had to pass through several rounds of vetting, before it was put out there. 

But now, with the advent of new media, the media landscape has altered significantly. Information is now spread in terms of the “many-to-many” paradigm. Now, people no longer rely on one person to receive their information. They can write their views on social media, and anybody can read it. 

In that way, the Internet age has democratized the media world. It has given everybody the right to express themselves. The scope of civic participation, too, has increased. However, this landscape is controlled by a few social media giants, each less accountable than the old media houses.  

The

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About the author

Samuel Woolley Image

Samuel Woolley, a researcher and author, focuses on disinformation, technology, and political communication. With expertise in computational propaganda, he examines the intersection of social media, politics, and democracy. Woolley’s work delves into ...

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The Reality Game Book Cover
Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. Introduction.
  • Lesson 2. How misuse of new age social media has eroded faith in democracy.
  • Lesson 3. Often commercial objectives are behind the spread of fake news.
  • Lesson 4. How conspiracy theories now make it to the mainstream media.
  • Lesson 5. Role of bots in spread of disinformation.
  • Lesson 6. The bots currently put to use are not very sophisticated.
  • Lesson 7. Lack of regulatory actions has given free rein to those who misuse social media.
  • Lesson 8. How the toxic misuse of social media can be put to an end.
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FAQs

In the summary of The Reality Game book, there are 8 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. Introduction.
  2. Lesson 2. How misuse of new age social media has eroded faith in democracy.
  3. Lesson 3. Often commercial objectives are behind the spread of fake news.
  4. Lesson 4. How conspiracy theories now make it to the mainstream media.
  5. Lesson 5. Role of bots in spread of disinformation.
  6. Lesson 6. The bots currently put to use are not very sophisticated.
  7. Lesson 7. Lack of regulatory actions has given free rein to those who misuse social media.
  8. Lesson 8. How the toxic misuse of social media can be put to an end.

The Reality Game by Samuel Woolley was published in 2020.

Once you've completed The Reality Game book, We suggest reading out Setting High Bar for your Customer Service as a great follow-up read.

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In the printed version of The Reality Game book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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