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[David Alandete. Fake News: The New Weapon of Mass Destruction. publishing house Planet. Barcelona, 2019. 296 pp.]
review / Naiara Goñi Pérez
The field of defence and security today is not limited only to the military field, but having acquired greater dimensions, it requires a approach global. Cybersecurity requires more attention than ever before, as it affects so many Structures as well as the civilian population (this is known as a "hybrid conflict"). The fields of information, communication and political and social sciences are equally affected; Here their threat moves under the names of fake news, disinformation, emotional truths, post-truth...
The book "Fake News: The New Weapon of Mass Destruction" is a research about the dimension and presence that disinformation has acquired in the media. The author points out in his book the lack of protection to which journalists are subjected at a time when control of the distribution of information has been lost, due, among other factors, to the proliferation of social networks. The motivation for the book itself arises from a smear campaign suffered by the author himself, who from the pages of El País, a newspaper of which he was direct attachment, denounced the presence of both Russian actors and Julian Assange, creator of Wikileaks, in the Catalan conflict.
David Alandete provides a large number of sources to support his arguments. He supports his story with numerous examples of fake news, details the methods used to spread disinformation, and reference letter programs of study that measure the impact of these practices on democracy.
Although, as stated above, the purpose The aim of the book is to document the role of fake news and disinformation around the Catalan referendum of 1-O. Alandete also addresses other examples of interference, such as Brexit, the yellow vest protests in France, the German elections...
A total of 20 chapters make up the structure of the book, with headlines taken from disinformation campaigns, such as "Tanks in the streets of Barcelona" or "No one could expect this to happen in a country as prosperous as Germany", which give an idea of what will be uncovered and denied in the following pages.
Disinformation seeks, broadly speaking and in the author's own words, to recreate an alternative reality in which the sources of information are frequently points of view or opinions and are generally manipulated. Another characteristic feature is the absence of signature, which makes it difficult to trace the veracity of a particular content and impossible to hold its author accountable. The goal The main focus behind these campaigns is to destabilize democracy, and it is carried out by "studying the fears of each country, appealing to the most deep-rooted problems in each society and publishing dubious or outright false information to create divisions." The main architects are the media that amplify the news (the growth in the employment bots); They also have as an ally a decisive factor pointed out from the beginning of the book: "Human psychology is the main reason for the success of disinformation".
The interest of the work lies in the analysis of the status Once the disinformation machinery has acted. Spain is a clear example of passivity in the face of this challenge, since, as the author points out, in the case of the illegal referendum held in Catalonia in 2018 "there was no foresight or strategy. The battle of communication was already lost." However, countries such as Germany promoted the anti-fake news law before the elections. The truth is that these measures involve a tension between freedom of expression and sanctions for disinformation. To overcome this dilemma, it is necessary to establish preventive measures in such a way as to eradicate the problem without falling into the subjugation of freedom of expression.
The great contribution of the book is, without a doubt, to illustrate this "theory of disinformation" with practical and real examples of it. In finalhis purpose to base their arguments on a research convinces the reader that fake news is indeed the new weapon of mass destruction. goal it is to destabilize democracies.