Hype —How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet–and Why We’re Following

By Gabrielle Bluestone

Hardcover, 374 pages, 2021.

Hanover Square Press

Well-written and well-researched topic but references and studies are dated. That’s the curse of instant news online. By the time the book comes out, scandals are old news—Fyre Festival, Theranos, Tesla’s tunnel, Trump’s alleged billions, Kylie Jenner’s Forbes listing, and fake influencers.

Bluestone unnecessarily details the Fyre Festival, for which she produced a Netflix special. She exhaustively explains how we get duped, and backs up her claims with research on social media use, addiction, and abuse. She cites an old study of millennials from 2011 but also mentions Hypebeast and Supreme.

In essence, our need for attention and affirmation and our FOMO make us susceptible to scams online. We follow what the influencers are doing so we can identify with the cool crowd. We groom our identity to become like them—sometimes at great cost. We aspire to be like them so we do what they do.

It’s old news, but this is a good reference to study social behavior and how things go viral. Since the US is saturated with such studies, this Canadian book may find a better market abroad where they are not so immersed in US fraud.