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Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media [Paperback]

Amber Benham , Eli Edwards , Ben Fractenberg , Laura Gordon-Murnane , Cynthia Hetherington , Deborah A. Liptak , Meg Smith , Craig Thompson , Anne P. Mintz

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2012
For all its amazing benefits, the worldwide social media phenomenon—epitomized by such sites as Facebook, Myspace, eBay, Twitter, and craigslist—has provided manipulative people and organizations with the tools (and human targets) that allow hoaxes and con games to be perpetrated on a vast scale.
In this eye-opening follow-up to her popular 2002 book, Web of Deception, Anne P. Mintz brings together a team of expert researchers, journalists, and subject experts to explain how misinformation is intentionally spread and to illuminate the dangers in a range of critical areas.
Web of Deceit is a must-read for any internet user who wants to avoid being victimized by liars, thieves, and propagandists in the age of ubiquitous social media.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Information Today, Inc. (Feb. 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0910965919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910965910
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #486,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Anne Mintz has once again assembled some savvy writers who have a lot to teach us about being safe on the web. The dangers of social media command our attention now more than ever, and this book is a must-read for anyone who socializes, shops, or interacts online. In other words, all of us!" —Ari L. Goldman, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

"Anne Mintz and her contributors approach intentional misinformation thoughtfully, knowledgeably, and with a refreshing lack of hysteria. The book sparkles with insight, expertise, wit, and dramatic—if appalling—examples of deception on the Net."  —Reva Basch, executive editor, Super Searchers book series, on Web of Deception

"[N]ot merely essential for our cyber age, but quintessential."  —Christopher Buckley, author, Thank You For Smoking, on Web of Deception

"The subject of misinformation is of growing importance and Anne Mintz's new book uses timely examples to make information abuse come alive. Anyone interested in understanding the challenges 'big data' present to researchers will find Ms. Mintz’s guidance valuable."—Stephen E. Arnold, ArnoldIT.com

"A fascinating and disturbing series of essays about the abuses of social media—a topic that could not be more timely."—Peter Beinart, associate professor of journalism and political science, CUNY

About the Author

Anne P. Mintz formerly worked for several decades as director of information centers in the fields of media and investment banking. She is the author of Web of Deception. She lives in New York City.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for anyone who wants to avoid being a victim of the multi-billion dollar problem of Internet fraud June 27 2012
By Ben Rothke - Published on Amazon.com
Terms such as revolutionary, groundbreaking and the like are often used in reference to the web and social media. While for the most part true, the web and social media have also been revolutionary and groundbreaking for scammers and con men.

In previous years, classic scams such as the Nigerian 419 scam were restrained by the costs and logistics of fax and hard copy distribution. Even using bulk mail, the cost of sending out a million letters was enormous. Today, tens of millions of emails can be quickly, inexpensively and anonymously distributed.

In Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media, editor Anne Mintz is one of 10 contributors to this book that analyzes why the information superhighway is also a highway of lies, deceit, manipulation, scams and similar nefarious things.

One of the problems of books written by numerous contributors is that the writers often step on each other and create redundant content, often moving away from the theme of the book. Mintz did an excellent job ensuring that all of the chapters are on different topics without any overlap, and all the authors stay on theme.

In chapter 2 on guarding Your Privacy and Identity, Cynthia Hetherington suggests the following exercise to better understand how scammers and marketers find victims. For 3 days, keep a journal of all the times you share your name, address, phone number, credit card number, use a grocery store coupon, answer unsolicited mail, reply to telemarketing calls and the like. After 3 days, you will understand how much personal information is indiscriminately given out.

Hetherington also provides information on to monitor the flow of your personal data and lists numerous agencies and their URL's on how to opt-out. She also gives 10 hints to use Facebook and maintain a modicum of privacy. Rather than list all ten; suffice to say, it comes down to using common sense.

In chapter 6, Ben Fractenberg writes on the topic of online fraud. He does an excellent job on detailing the many different schemes and associated frauds. He references the Money Laundering and Reshipping Fraud web site. The site is dedicated to providing information on fake companies offering part-time, work from home job scams, in particular money mule or money transfer fraud, aka 'payment transfer agent' scams and the related reshipping fraud or 'parcels agent' scams. There are over 1,000 different scams listed.

Deborah Liptak has fascinating analysis of information warfare and cybersecurity. She writes that in a survey of over 400 terrorist, 44% were engineers, who were recruited for terror operations.

In the chapter on political misinformation, Laura Gordon-Murnane writes that the news media and newspaper have served an important watchdog function, ensuring that the government and political leaders are held accountable for things they said they would do. With the financial instability of newspapers; the watchdog and investigative reporting services have suffered greatly. She also lists a number of fact-checking tools, such as PolitiFact and FactCheck that are being used to get government officials and candidates in check.

With a subtitle of misinformation and manipulation in the age of social media, the book at first sounds like it is a Chicken Little approach to social media. But Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media is pragmatic, not histrionic.

The overall threat is real. In fact, older Americans singlehandedly lose nearly $3 billion a year to fraud, some of it online, according to a study last year by the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech. Most victims are between 80 and 89, and most are women.

Scammers, thieves, liars, manipulators, pedophiles and the like are using social media in a big way. To avoid being caught in their lair, it is imperative to know the risks. Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media indeed does a great job at that, and contains the collected wisdom of a lot of really smart writers. It is a great read for anyone who wants to avoid being a victim of the multi-billion dollar problem of Internet fraud.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! May 15 2013
By kate Williamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Learned a lot, I will now be much more aware of the information I leave online. I would recommend the eBook version.

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