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The Chaos Machine is the story of how the world was driven mad by social media. The election of populists like Trump and Bolsonaro; strife and genocide in countries like Myanmar; the rampant spread of COVID-19 conspiracy theories as deadly as the pandemic itself; all of these are products of a breakdown in our social and political lives, a breakdown driven by the apps, companies and algorithms that compete constantly for our attention.

Max Fisher is a leading New York Times technology reporter whose work has covered the way that social media sites – driven increasingly by artificial intelligence rather than human ingenuity – push users towards more and more extreme positions, deepening the divisions in society in pursuit of greater engagement and profit. With extraordinary access to the most powerful players in Silicon Valley, and with testimonies from around the world of the havoc being wreaked by our online selves, The Chaos Machine shows us how we got to this uniquely perilous moment – and how we might get out of it.