Lie Machines - Summary and Key Ideas

Lie Machines explores the complex systems of people, organizations, and social media algorithms that generate and spread political lies, focusing on their production, distribution, and marketing. The book aims to understand how these machines work in order to dismantle them and protect democracy.

The target group of "Lie Machines" includes individuals interested in understanding the mechanisms behind political misinformation and those seeking ways to protect democracy from the influence of disinformation campaigns.

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Lie Machines

Key ideas


Lie machines threaten democracy by exploiting cognitive biases and manipulating public opinion, eroding trust in democratic institutions.


Lie machines exploit personal data to manipulate public opinion, threatening democracy and public trust.

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Junk news threatens democracy by fueling polarization, skepticism, and misinformation.

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Dismantling lie machines and safeguarding democracy demands transparency, personal data control, media literacy, critical thinking, and regular algorithmic audits.

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Summary & Review

Lie Machines by Philip N. Howard explores the growing influence of lie machines in public life, which are social and technical systems that generate and spread political lies. These machines are built by political actors, social media firms, and paid consultants, and they manipulate data and algorithms to serve a political agenda. The book breaks down lie machines into three main components: production, distribution, and marketing, and discusses their impact on democracy and public opinion.

Philip N. Howard

Philip N. Howard is a professor of sociology, information, and international affairs at the University of Washington. He is an expert in digital media, political communication, and the impact of technology on society, with a focus on the role of information and communication technologies in shaping public life.

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