• The Chaos Machine

  • The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World
  • By: Max Fisher
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (252 ratings)

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The Chaos Machine

By: Max Fisher
Narrated by: Peter Ganim
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Publisher's Summary

The debut of a New York Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist: a gripping narrative that fuses research, exclusive interviews, and on-the-ground reporting to capture the full inside story of Big Tech’s monomaniacal race to drive engagement—and profits—at all costs.

We all have a vague sense that social media is bad for us, for our children, and for our democracies. But what exactly is it about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms that causes this creeping feeling of unease? Max Fisher, using years of his own international reporting for the New York Times, tells the inside story of how the social networks fundamentally altered the world, detailing the roots of their ideology, their race to maximize engagement, and the resulting algorithms that drive everyday users to extreme opinions and, increasingly, extreme actions.

Taking the listener from deep inside Silicon Valley to the far reaches of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Brazil, Max Fisher unfolds the definitive account of how the social-media harms that sometimes began in forgotten pockets of the world saw their dark culmination in America through the pandemic, the 2020 election, and Capitol Insurrection. The result is an intimately detailed account of the consequences of the polarization that social media incubates: the cancellations, the omnipotence of hate speech, and the spillover into real-world violence. Fisher weaves together the stories of dozens of alarmed outsiders and Silicon Valley defectors to reveal the true human cost at the heart of social media.

The Chaos Machine is a fresh, excoriating, and definitive narrative of the rise and legacy of the social-media giants. Delivering both astounding stories and hard-hitting reporting, Fisher captures the tangible havoc wreaked upon our minds and our world by the titans of the tech industry.

©2022 Max Fisher (P)2022 Little, Brown & Company

What listeners say about The Chaos Machine

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

First few chapters were good. The rest was bashing all right wing politics.

The first few chapters were very good, mostly objective and balanced. The rest of the book is more and more of blaming social media for right wing politics. Although he’s only pointing out the radical end of it, he paints a picture of all left wing politics being civil and objectively normal, with right wingers being the only ones susceptible to social media control, pushing them farther and farther towards radicalism and conspiracy theories. A more objective, balanced storyline, pointing out both radical left and right would engage more readers/ listeners to continue listening through the whole book.

7 people found this helpful

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EVERY human should read this book.

This factual book rivals any science fiction book I know of.
Algorithms that instigate dangerous discourse filled with highly charged emotions have become the fruit of all evil.
A MUST READ.

5 people found this helpful

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The Algorithms Must Be Turned Off

Super insightful and important. Tech companies should not have the power to challenge government. we meet to change how they do business

5 people found this helpful

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Eye opener

This isn’t a light read.

If you’re like me, you’ll recognize how your own behavior has shifted because of social media. And not positively.

The Author presents current research on specific ways social media changes our brains and how algorithms can shift your moral compass.

There’s a deep dive on the tech industry and it’s shameful.

No feel good here. It’s an EYE OPENER.

4 people found this helpful

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I’m recommending to lots of people

Kind of makes me appreciate Isaac Asimov's wisdom in designing the laws of robotics.
I will be listening to this one again.

4 people found this helpful

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Stunning

Anyone subscribing to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like should read or listen carefully to this book. Its revelations are appalling and unnerving.

3 people found this helpful

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a raw no special effects real horror story.

simply devastating . it's a great book about something really horrible.not sure which part is more difficult to achieve : humans to do small research to find out that not everything on the Internet is true or regulate social media to stop hate and fake news

2 people found this helpful

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The Chaos Machine - Today's Must Read!

This is a must read for all of us in today's hyper polarized environment. The book is well written and to the point in it's conclusions.

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Compelling, Mandatory Information

A must read - just an excellent rendition of the harms of the social media algorithm - most salient point for me is that the engineers don’t really know how it works or its implications. Comforting thought.

2 people found this helpful

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Important read

Excellent story telling. Recognizing that Silicon Valley AI monopolizes our attention and collective conscience is quite terrifying. I agree, turn off the algorithm.

2 people found this helpful