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A history of fake things on the Internet
Scheirer W., Stanford University Press, Redwood City, CA, 2023. 264 pp. Type: Book (9781503632882)
Date Reviewed: Mar 20 2024

With the advent of the Internet, changing perceptions of reality and “fakeness” have impacted user decisions to expose or hide their social identities. The positives of using or working with the Internet encourage real identities, whereas humor or bad behavior fills Internet servers with fake content. This book attempts to capture those events that changed the way we explore Internet capabilities around the globe. Its eight chapters describe the events in chronological order.

Chapter 1 begins with the COVID-19 pandemic; Internet myths, memes, and the stories of The Iliad and The Odyssey; and the controversial documentary HyperNormalisation. Chapter 2 discusses “Quentin” (an anonymous hacker), unidentified flying object (UFO) investigations, Dateline, and the Cult of the Dead Cow. Chapter 3 looks at darkrooms, including digital darkroom manipulation techniques, with an emphasis on the influence of Photoshop. Chapter 4 reimagines the use of cheat codes in computer games to get extra lives, the application of technical files, and the white hat hacker versus black hat hacker information war.

Chapter 5 highlights the US Supreme Court case of Ashcroft versus Free Speech Coalition, the reliance on evidence received from media forensics, and digital manipulations using deepfake algorithms. Moreover, chapter 6 explains the introduction of fabricated, horrific content through a movie titled Videodrome. Chapter 7 looks at the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to produce photorealistic fake images through predictive algorithms, and chapter 8 discusses the metaverse, generative algorithms, and the various fictions on the Internet.

This is an interesting read for academics, professionals, and researchers working in augmented reality, identity tracing over social networks, and AI. However, the book is specifically dedicated to “hackers everywhere.” An informative preface and separate notes make the reading worthwhile. Complementary titles include [1,2,3,4,5].

More reviews about this item: Amazon, Goodreads

Reviewer:  Lalit Saxena Review #: CR147730
1) Dennis, A. R.; Galletta, D. F.; Webster, J. (Eds.) Fake news on the Internet. Routledge, Oxfordshire, UK, 2024.
2) Higdon, N. The anatomy of fake news: a critical news literacy education. University of California Press, Oakland, CA, 2020.
3) Farmer, L. S. J. Fake news in context. Routledge, New York, NY, 2021.
4) Gambín, Á. F.; Yazidi, A.; Vasilakos, A.; Haugerud, H.; Djenouri, Y. Deepfakes: current and future trends. Artificial Intelligence Review 57, (2024),
5) Weiss, A. The dark side of our digital world: and what you can do about it. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2020.
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Ethics (K.4.1 ... )
Internet (C.2.1 ... )
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