I am a researcher and writer with a focus on emergent technology and communication. My work examines how automated online tools including bots and algorithms are used to enable both democracy and control. I study how computational propaganda–-the manipulation of public opinion using social media–is used in attempts to affect the flow of information during major political events.
I am currently co-editing, with Dr. Philip N. Howard, a book of case studies entitled Computational Propaganda. This text will be published with the Oxford Studies in Digital Politics series at Oxford University Press in the Fall of 2018. I am also working on a manuscript exploring the future of online propaganda, tentatively titled DigiProp, for PublicAffairs.
I am the Director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future (IFTF)–a 50-year-old think tank located in Palo Alto, California. The DigIntel Lab does publicly accessible research at the intersection of the social and computer sciences. Our most recent report, on a new form of human rights abuse called State Sponsored Trolling, was released in conjunction with a globally-focused piece from Bloomberg. The DigIntel Lab and its projects are supported by the Hewlett Foundation, the New Venture Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and others.
Before joining IFTF, I was the Director of Research of the Computational Propaganda Research Project at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. I am currently a Belfer Fellow at the Center for Technology and Society at the Anti-Defamation League and a former fellow at Google Jigsaw, the TechPolicy Lab at the University of Washington, and the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University. I hold a PhD from the University of Washington.
I work from San Francisco, CA and tweet from @samuelwoolley