Haroon K. Ullah, a scholar and diplomat with deep knowledge of Islamic politics and digital innovation, draws the first clear picture of the unprecedented impact of online networks across the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.
Social media has dominated the discourse surrounding recent events in the Muslim world—from the seismic events of the Arab Spring and its aftermath, to ISIS’s slick online recruitment and digitally documented campaign of terror, to the ongoing civil war and tragedy in Syria and Iraq, as well as instability in Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Afghanistan. Yet there has been little useful insight into the actual roles currently played by Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and a plethora of other social media in these countries. Lacking, too, is any analysis of the use of the dark web, cyber tracking, hacking, encryption, and digital attacks by both state and non-state actors.
Haroon Ullah investigates the growth of the full range of social media in the region and explores how far it has penetrated into these societies. He considers its apparently inherently “democratic,” anti-establishment revolutionary impact, as well as how religious conservatives and extremists have co-opted various platforms. And he shows the ways in which political parties, multinational corporations, charities, and sitting governments have learned to exploit digital tools to target and mobilize particular audiences, grow their brands, disseminate messages, and ultimately achieve power and status.
Digital World War demonstrates how social media has profoundly changed relationships between regimes and peoples, and within populations—mostly, but not always, for the better. Ullah identifies key trends across the Muslim world, and outlines what a proper understanding of social media can teach us about regional and international politics and diplomacy.
"This book is fascinating and also critically important. With great insight and expertise, Haroon Ullah shows how social media is being used in the Muslim world both to transform governments as well as recruit fighters to Islamist extremism. One of our most important challenges today is turning digital media into a force for good. The first step is to understand how it is being used, for good and for evil, in places like the Middle East. That's why this book is indispensable."-Walter Isaacson, is a writer, journalist, and the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute "In a world growing more chaotic, Haroon Ullah is one of those rare people who can provide a new roadmap to understand the intersection of technology, marketing, and social media in the Muslim world. The first step to breaking the brand of extremists is to understand it. This book is a must-read for all."-Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer, Facebook "Islamic politics are rich and varied, but are typically reduced to ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim brotherhood. Digital World War draws a fascinating map of this political world by tracking street-fighting and brand-building on social media-a landscape of censorship and change. An illuminating read." -Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America "In Digital World War, Haroon Ullah has proven himself to be one of those rare people who can identify patterns on the information battlefield and cogently illustrate what is at stake for future generations."-Jared Cohen, CEO of Jigsaw and author of The New York Times bestselling book The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business "Words are a weapon. Ullah breaks into the armory and delivers a must-read expose on how social media is reshaping the Middle East."-James Jay Carafano, The Heritage Foundation"Digital World War is a major contribution to how technology, in particular social media, is shaping and changing Islamist movements, from mainstream Islamist parties to violent jihadist organizations. Haroon Ullah writes clearly and concisely on this important phenomenon, which is reshaping the Muslim world in unexpected ways."-Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists
"This extraordinarily important book could not be better timed, nor could it have a more credible author. Haroon Ullah has been, and remains, a key figure in disputing the cyber/information sphere, and waging digital conflict with those who would traffic in terror, disinformation, and hatred. He was one of the central figures in waging digital war against the so-called Islamic State. Marvelously researched, and splendidly written, Ullah has done us all a great service in writing this book. It was my honor to serve with him in this struggle, one in which he will be recognized as a leader for years to come."-John R. Allen, General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), Former Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL
"Through research, deep knowledge and one-of-a-kind experience, Haroon Ullah brings to life the fight for hearts and minds with digital and social media as a proxy. In a world that is more connected than ever before, Digital World War examines how information, tools and platforms are remaking the Muslim world. Everyone should read this book."-Jonathan Perelman, former VP at Buzzfeed Studios, Director of Digital at ICM Partners
"Haroon Ullah's visceral first-person story takes us across enemy lines on the emerging digital battlefield."-Nova Spivack, co-founder and CEO of Bottlenose&ldqu