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The death of truth : how social media and the internet gave snake oil salesmen and demagogues the weapons to destroy trust and polarize the world--and what we can do about it  Cover Image Book Book

The death of truth : how social media and the internet gave snake oil salesmen and demagogues the weapons to destroy trust and polarize the world--and what we can do about it / Steven Brill.


As the cofounder of NewsGuard, a company that tracks online misinformation, Steven Brill has observed the rise of fake news from a front-row seat. In The Death of Truth, with startling, often terrifying clarity, he explains how we got here--and how we can get back to a world where truth matters. None of this--conspiracy theories embraced, expertise ridiculed, empirical evidence ignored--has happened by accident. Brill takes us inside the decisions made by executives in Silicon Valley to code the algorithms embedded in their social media platforms to maximize profits by pushing divisive content. He unravels the ingenious creation of automated advertising buying systems that reward that click-baiting content and penalize reliable news publishers, and describes how the use of these ad-financed, misinformation platforms by politicians, hucksters, and conspiracy theorists deceives ordinary citizens. He documents how the most powerful adversaries of America have used American-made social media and advertising tools against us with massive disinformation campaigns--and how, with the development of generative artificial intelligence, everything could get exponentially worse unless we act. The stakes are high for all of us, including Brill himself, whose company's role in exposing Russian disinformation operations resulted in a Russian agent targeting him and his family. Crucially, Brill lays out a series of provocative but realistic prescriptions for what we can do now to reverse course--proposals certain to stir debate and even action that could curb the power of big tech to profit from division and chaos, tamp down polarization, and restore the trust necessary to bring us together. -- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780525658313
  • ISBN: 0525658319
  • Physical Description: viii, 317 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2024.

Content descriptions

General Note:
Publisher, publishing date, binding, and paging may vary.
Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages [241]-295) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Six times seven is not forty-one -- The liberation of the "good Samaritans" -- "What's up with your recommendation engine?" -- "We're sorry" -- Millions of papers flying around -- ER doctors or tobacco company shills? -- Buying blind -- A vaster wasteland -- Attacking the referees -- Infodemic -- Down the rabbit hole -- America's shameful export -- "We are going to burn you down" -- When you can't believe your own eyes -- Resurrecting truth--what you can do.
Subject: Misinformation > Social aspects > United States.
Truthfulness and falsehood > Social aspects > United States.
Social media and society > United States.
Genre: Informational works.
Instructional and educational works.

Available copies

  • 4 of 9 copies available at Missouri Evergreen. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at North Kansas City.


  • 0 current holds with 9 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
North Kansas City Public Library 302.231 BRILL 2024 (Text) 0001012551409 Nonfiction New Available -

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