Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It's True?

Virtual Unreality Just Because the Internet Told You How Do You Know It s True The bestselling author of Proofiness and Zero explains how to separate fact from fantasy in the digital world Digital information is a powerful tool that spreads unbelievably rapidly infects all corn

  • Title: Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It's True?
  • Author: Charles Seife
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 309
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • The bestselling author of Proofiness and Zero explains how to separate fact from fantasy in the digital world Digital information is a powerful tool that spreads unbelievably rapidly, infects all corners of society, and is all but impossible to control even when that information is actually a lie In Virtual Unreality, Charles Seife uses the skepticism, wit, and sharp faciThe bestselling author of Proofiness and Zero explains how to separate fact from fantasy in the digital world Digital information is a powerful tool that spreads unbelievably rapidly, infects all corners of society, and is all but impossible to control even when that information is actually a lie In Virtual Unreality, Charles Seife uses the skepticism, wit, and sharp facility for analysis that captivated readers in Proofiness and Zero to take us deep into the Internet information jungle and cut a path through the trickery, fakery, and cyber skullduggery that the online world enables Taking on everything from breaking news coverage and online dating to program trading and that eccentric and unreliable source that is , Seife arms his readers with actual tools or weapons for discerning truth from fiction online.

    One thought on “Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It's True?”

    1. VIRTUAL UNREALITY: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It’s True? (2014). Charles Seife. ****.The writer is a competent writer about subjects in science, and in this, his latest work, he takes on the internet. After a brief history of the system, he then gets into how it is abused, along with its users by a medley of forces. He cites lots of scams and schemes to force surfers to specific web sites. He looks at some of the underhanded ways that users can, and have been, cheated [...]

    2. Virtual Unreality demonstrates that the Internet is fooling us constantly. And the Nigerian Prince and male enhancement scams are just a small part of it. Charles Seife spends almost no time with those obvious frauds, and deals instead with the subtle manipulations of "respectable" web sites such as and the Huffington Post. Before reading this book, I had little idea what "search engine optimization" was. Now, I'm amazed how manipulative and clever it can be.I particularly liked Seife's "Top Te [...]

    3. Very good book on the problems involved in navigating the internet and social media. The cheap easy way distribute information (including false info) to track our every movement and mine data about us and make us willingly participate in activities that if enforced by a state would be considered totalitarian. This book lays out all those worries just below the surface every modern user has with social media and the internet. The book lays bear the very real problems with the internet which track [...]

    4. I looked forward to reading this book for several months. I wanted to know how to tell the difference between reality and unreality on the internet. I wanted to learn new things, gain new insights. When I was finally able to get it, I started it immediately and found it to be very interesting . . . for the first few chapters. Then I noticed that I wasn't learning anything new, but I was getting a good history of some of the scams and ploys that are common. Well, I thought, this is the basic stuf [...]

    5. Based on the title and the cover, I had expected this to expose Internet fads and myths. Instead, what I read was a reasoned and accessible book about how our concept of information and our relationship with it has changed. Touching on topics that range from fake people to plagiarism, Seife examines how the ubiquity of digital information is changing entire industries and systems of behavior. Reading this book will not tell you whether that last meme you saw on Facebook was true or not; it will, [...]

    6. I thought this book had a great premise. It seemed very relevant given all the crazy articles that people post on social media, without checking other sources and believe to be true. There were some interesting examples but not much information. It could have been a much shorter book or maybe even a magazine article considering the actual amount of information on the subject title. It's not a book I would recommend taking the time to read.

    7. OMG! I did not realize just how interconnected we are (I am) when doing almost anything on the internet. I knew that personal information could be obtained in many cases with a few clicks but how available such information is and widely and quickly it is disseminated was a surprise. It makes me MUCH more conscious of what I click on and if I really want to share things with others. User beware whenever you are on the internet. If you don't believe me just send me $99 and I'll tell you.

    8. Clearly written, and the topic is highly relevant, though because the book is several years old some of the examples feel slightly dated. And it somehow doesn't have quite the sense of urgency that I was expecting.

    9. Sock Puppet - from :"A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person.[1] The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization,[2] to manipulate public [...]

    10. Ought to be required reading in every high school in the country. Only complaint: could have been longer! There's so much ground to cover.

    11. This is a very engaging book, well-researched and informative regarding the changes in our society today due to our interconnectedness. The author paints an intriguing picture of how the internet is a wonderful resource but should be viewed also as a tool that can be used against us: to exploit us for money and information that can often be turned against us. He tells us how our private information can be easily taken from us, and how we willingly give up our locations and valuable private infor [...]

    12. Una delle tante cose che non capisco è perché la traduzione italiana di questo libro non abbia potuto mantenere l'evocativo titolo originale "Irrealtà virtuale", sostituito con un "Le menzogne del web" che è doppiamente falso: innanzitutto perché non si parla solo del web ma anche di media cartacei e aziende ben reali, e poi perché più che di bugie si parla di manipolazioni ai nostri danni. La rete è indubbiamente un importante ampllficatore, come Seife ben spiega, ma la maggior parte de [...]

    13. Based on his own experience as a journalist and a professor, Charles Seife provides a readable account of having to live with the Internet run amok. He opens with an interesting warping of reality, the case of the Muppet Bert's affiliation with the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. What had started as a joke with the "Bert is Evil" website was transformed in to strange reality when someone made up posters using images off the Internet. This segues into eleven chapters and three half chapters that cover [...]

    14. I'm still a bit puzzled as to the grammatical correctness of the title. Shouldn't it be "Just because the Internet told you, doesn't mean it's true", or "The Internet told you; how do you know it's true?"Anyway.This book didn't tell me anything new; it just reinforced a list of observations I'd already made about everything virtual as opposed to real life.Examples: 1) Identities on the Internet can be easily constructed and faked.2) "Facts" you read on the Internet may not be true.3) You can use [...]

    15. (I received the book for free through First Reads.) This book is a must for anyone who wants to be able to discern the facts from all the deception found on the internet. Charles Seife presents an eye-opening look at how easily the "facts and truth" can be altered on the internet. This book, an enjoyable read thanks to the author's wit and writing ability, is a serious analysis of the problems caused by the fluidity of anything digital. Among the many interesting and thought-provoking anecdotes [...]

    16. If you've been living part of your life on the Web from its toddler days in the 1990s, you probably know most of the stories assembled here: How Bert moved from Sesame Street to become an ally of Osama Bin Laden; people who create avatars with illnesses and dramatic stories and solicit funds for their support; hoax web sites and conspiracies. What makes this book immensely valuable is how Seife puts all of this together to create a larger, integrated story of how the information explosion is mak [...]

    17. "Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It's True?" is Charles Seife's take on dishonesty and manipulation in the online environment. I don't really believe much of what I read or see online as I was already aware of much of the information presented in this book, but I am quite shocked at what some other people believe. I remember, when I was on Facebook, some people would forward some of the most ridiculous news stories from the most unreliable sources and actua [...]

    18. There are many exciting and positive as aspects of digital communication technologies — amazing speed, amazing accessibility, amazing interconnectivity — but those very aspects have profoundly changed our relationship with information. So of those changes are kind of scary.After reading this book, I would never sign up for a dating service (not that that was on my to-do) and would be even more wary than I already am about climbing on the social media bandwagon. I might buy a copy of this boo [...]

    19. I had actively disliked the author's Proofiness, and it may be that the low expectations that book wrought were what let me enjoy this one. As a brief tour of the ways that the rise of the Internet have changed the creation and propagation of content, it covers mostly familiar or unsurprising ground (search-engine optimization exists; journalists cite erroneous rumors, and then those citations are used as "proof" in subsequent updates; plagiarism happens). Despite that familiarity, the book di [...]

    20. Don’t believe everything that you read on the Internet? Neither does Charles Seife. In his thought-provoking book, "Virtual Unreality," Charles debunks many Internet myths which people have come to believe. The author focuses on many aspects of untrue online information. Fabricated examples include doctored photos, blogs, incidents, and even people! This has become more a problem in the digital age, since now most everyone can easily transform and publish information. "Virtual Reality" provide [...]

    21. Not sure how to rate this one on the one hand, it's a pretty basic survey text of digital culture, covering a broad sweep of topics but only occasionally going into depth (3 stars). On the other hand, its readability to the lay individual--particularly given the various polemic buzzbubbles of our current political 'discourse' & the usual cognitive dissonance feedback fury that accompanies them (thanx facebook/reddit/twitter/etc. for yer up-to-date spiral of low-information rumor-rage) given [...]

    22. I won an ARC of this book through the GoodReads First Reads program.I really, really, really liked Seife's "Virtual Unreality." Though a nonfiction book, it's still a very enjoyable text. It was also something I could see as an assigned text I may have had to read as an undergrad in my journalism track, if it had been published in the early aughts, or if I was starting my undergrad career today. It brought up a lot of relevant issues, but the thing is, they're not just important for students stu [...]

    23. As a librarian, the title of this book caught my attention quickly. Then the introduction describing a digital connection between Bert the Muppet and Osama bin Laden hooked me totally. Have you ever heard of Internet sock puppets? Well, you'll learn about them here. You'll also learn how the digital information explosion is changing the ways we think without us even being aware of it. And don't miss the Top 10 Dicta of the Internet Skeptic in the Appendix. I plan to post them on my bulletin boar [...]

    24. This book started out on a good note. I became increasingly more aware of the level of chicanery and fraud on the internet. However after Chapter 5, the book fell apart. Although the book is fairly recent (2014), I felt that one would have to be living in a cave to not be aware of, and stupid enough to fall for, anything in Chapters 6 through 11. After reading other reviews, I see that many people have the same opinion of this book, yet they rated it five stars. I don't understand. Clearly, this [...]

    25. Won this thanks to First Reads!It was a pretty good book. It covered all of the reasons the internet was a scary place. One thing I would have liked was to see people who get their identities stolen on the internet (whether for monetary or aesthetic reasons), since that is very possible. I have friends who are victims of seeing their photos on pornographic sites, dating sites and even Facebook. Really, this book just confirms the internet is a scary place and we have to use our discernment to f [...]

    26. An insightful look at the way the internet is altering society by way of questioning the intentions of those who produce content. Interesting to learn that Huffington Post was sold to AOL. Like that the book covered so many facets of internet interface--social networks, news sites, email scams, chat rooms, etc. Really loved the author's balance between informational rants (that were thoroughly footnoted) and humorous analogies/asides. He was snarky at just the right moments.Really looking forwar [...]

    27. This is an excellent book to help you understand the nature of the 'unreality' of the online world. Seife discusses , Google, and a host of ways that the unscrupulous and quite possibly, the scrupulous are playing with your head. Some are trying to get you to believe something that really isn't true or are trying to separate you with your hard earned cash.Of course, as Seife notes, none of this is actually new. It's just been refined to fit with our online world.

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