The Hype Machine
Social media connected the world — and gave rise to fake news and increasing polarization. Now a leading researcher at MIT draws on 20 years of research to show how these trends threaten our political, economic, and emotional health in this eye-opening exploration of the dark side of technological progress.
Today we have the ability, unprecedented in human history, to amplify our interactions with each other through social media. It is paramount, MIT social media expert Sinan Aral says, that we recognize the outsized impact social media has on our culture, our democracy, and our lives in order to steer today's social technology toward good, while avoiding the ways it can pull us apart. Otherwise, we could fall victim to what Aral calls "The Hype Machine." As a senior researcher of the longest-running study of fake news ever conducted, Aral found that lies spread online farther and faster than the truth.
Among the questions Aral explores following twenty years of field research:
- Did Russian interference change the 2016 election? And how is it affecting the vote in 2020?
- Why does fake news travel faster than the truth online?
- How do social ratings and automated sharing determine which products succeed and fail?
- How does social media affect our kids?
First, Aral links alarming data and statistics to three accelerating social media shifts: hyper-socialization, personalized mass persuasion, and the tyranny of trends. Next, he grapples with the consequences of the Hype Machine for elections, businesses, dating, and health. Finally, he maps out strategies for navigating the Hype Machine, offering his singular guidance for managing social media to fulfill its promise going forward.
Contact Raphael Sagalyn for more information
Sophie Baker manages the translation rights for The Hype Machine
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This is the most important book of the year! Our friendships, economy, and society now depend on billions of social media connections, and no one on the planet understands them better than Sinan Aral. . . . A lively, engaging masterpiece.
co-author of The Second Machine Age
Full of rigor and insight, The Hype Machine tackles some of the most pressing policy questions of the Digital Age while keeping you on the edge of your seat. . . . A must-read for policy makers, business executives, and parents alike.
former U.S. chief data scientist
In a sea of books about social media, this is the one to read. Aral understands the new social age like no one else, and The Hype Machine offers the single best examination of how social media works and how we can make it better
author of Messing with the Enemy
The Hype Machine is a riveting story of social media’s impact on how we live. Part spy novel and part science thriller, this book is an essential guide to ensuring our digital future.
author of Contagious
A meticulous dissection of social media . . . Aral gives us a much-needed framework for understanding what happened in the 2016 election, and what will likely happen again if nothing changes.
author of The Four