The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The debut of a New York Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist: a gripping narrative that fuses research, exclusive interviews, and on-the-ground reporting to capture the full inside story of Big Tech’s monomaniacal race to drive engagement—and profits—at all costs.
We all have a vague sense that social media is bad for us, for our children, and for our democracies. But what exactly is it about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms that causes this creeping feeling of unease? Max Fisher, using years of his own international reporting for the New York Times, tells the inside story of how the social networks fundamentally altered the world, detailing the roots of their ideology, their race to maximize engagement, and the resulting algorithms that drive everyday users to extreme opinions and, increasingly, extreme actions.
Taking the listener from deep inside Silicon Valley to the far reaches of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Brazil, Max Fisher unfolds the definitive account of how the social-media harms that sometimes began in forgotten pockets of the world saw their dark culmination in America through the pandemic, the 2020 election, and Capitol Insurrection. The result is an intimately detailed account of the consequences of the polarization that social media incubates: the cancellations, the omnipotence of hate speech, and the spillover into real-world violence. Fisher weaves together the stories of dozens of alarmed outsiders and Silicon Valley defectors to reveal the true human cost at the heart of social media.
The Chaos Machine is a fresh, excoriating, and definitive narrative of the rise and legacy of the social-media giants. Delivering both astounding stories and hard-hitting reporting, Fisher captures the tangible havoc wreaked upon our minds and our world by the titans of the tech industry.
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 55 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 06, 2022|
|Publisher||Little, Brown & Company|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #6,718 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#4 in Social Media Guides
#5 in Social Media for Business
#5 in Content Creation & Social Media
Top reviews from the United States
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Instead, I got a fantastic prologue, an interesting first chapter...and then it dives head-first into identity politics throughout every chapter! Pretty much every problem involved with social media, from its developers to its online users, can apparently all be blamed upon straight white men. But for those like myself who don't believe all of society's problems can be explained with Intersectionality, I skimmed through the rest of the chapters and found this trend continued throughout.
(A note on the Gamergate chapter: I was a big gamer at the time Gamergate happened, so reading through this chapter was difficult. It felt like I was being gaslight. I had to check Wikipedia to make sure I wasn't going crazy...but apparently I'm going crazy! The way the author shares the story of Gamergate is vastly different from the way my gamer friends and I saw it.
For myself and my friends: We got together in the evenings to play videogames online, both males and females. No more and no less. When Gamergate happened, it was because there were a few outspoken feminists critics like Anita Sarkeesian who were making videos online critiquing videogames. That's fine. But rather than engage with legitimate criticisms toward her views (my gamer friend made multiple videos critiquing her), she ignored them. What frustrated so many gamers was people like her were critiquing the videogames we played, yet when she was critiqued right back she cried victimhood. It was also clear she wasn't a gamer herself; there were points made in her videos that, had she played the games thoroughly, would've easily weakened her arguments.
For Wikipedia and this author: Gamergate was the product of straight, white, right-wing incels who harassed helpless women online who just wanted to play videogames. By their standards, myself and my gamer friends are apparently "right-wing".
Never mind that lots of gamers (men and women) saw these women's critiques as cringeworthy and went on playing their videogames; no, it was apparent sexism and misogyny was always endemic in the gamer community. Never mind that lots of gamers (male, female, LGBT) threw insults at each other in ironic, unserious ways while gaming that had nothing to do with real discrimination; no, people always meant what they said to a random username online who'd they never know in real life.
Obviously, I don't endorse any of the death threats or physical violence that was directed at the feminist critics who received them. That's plain wrong. But to attribute those individuals as a reflection of the gamer community as a whole is so disingenuous. Long story short, a whole portion of the story about Gamergate that happened nearly a decade ago has now been covered up with an victimhood lens. They say "history is written by the victors"; I'll add it's also written by journalists with ideological agendas.)
Quite frankly, I'm tired of identity politics and this book is just another example as to why I am. I wish I had known this before reading; otherwise I would've happily skipped it.