In the name of of Allah the Merciful

Social Engineering: How Crowdmasters, Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls Created a New Form of Manipulative Communication

Robert W. Gehl; Sean T. Lawson, 9780262368933, 2021016750, 9780262543453, 978-0262368933, 978-0262543453

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English | 2022 | EPUB, Converted PDF

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The United States is awash in manipulated information about everything  from election results to the effectiveness of medical treatments.  Corporate social media is an especially good channel for manipulative  communication, with Facebook a particularly willing vehicle for it. In  Social Engineering, Robert Gehl and Sean Lawson show that online  misinformation has its roots in earlier techniques: mass social  engineering of the early twentieth century and interpersonal hacker  social engineering of the 1970s, converging today into what they call  “masspersonal social engineering.” As Gehl and Lawson trace contemporary  manipulative communication back to earlier forms of social engineering,  possibilities for amelioration become clearer.

The authors show  how specific manipulative communication practices are a mixture of  information gathering, deception, and truth-indifferent statements, all  with the instrumental goal of getting people to take actions the social  engineer wants them to. Yet the term “fake news,” they claim, reduces  everything to a true/false binary that fails to encompass the complexity  of manipulative communication or to map onto many of its practices.  They pay special attention to concepts and terms used by hacker social  engineers, including the hacker concept of “bullshitting,” which the  authors describe as a truth-indifferent mix of deception, accuracy, and  sociability. They conclude with recommendations for how society can  undermine masspersonal social engineering and move toward healthier  democratic deliberation.