Dr. Samuel Woolley is a writer, researcher, and professor whose work focuses on how new media tools get used for both freedom and control. His most recent book (January 2023), Manufacturing Consensus: Understanding Propaganda in the Age of Automation and Anonymity, is an in-depth exploration of the people behind modern propaganda campaigns.
Woolley is also the author of The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth, a future-oriented primer discussing the ways digital disinformation and propaganda are already being spread using virtual reality, artificial intelligence and other novel technologies. He is the co-author, with Nick Monaco, of Bots, and co-editor, with Dr. Philip N. Howard, of Computational Propaganda.
Woolley is a faculty member in the School of Journalism & Media and fellow of the R.P. Doherty, Sr. Centennial Professorship at the Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin. He the program director of the Propaganda Research Lab and a Knight Foundation faculty fellow at the Center for Media Engagement (CME) at UT. His academic work has appeared in numerous journals including New Media & Society, The Journal of Democracy, Political Research Quarterly, Social Media + Society, The Journal of Information Technology and Politics, and The International Journal of Communication. He has written extensively about emerging technology and the manipulation of public opinion for popular outlets including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Wired, The Guardian, Motherboard | VICE, and Tech Crunch. He is a contributing writer for the Centre for International Governance Innovation. His research has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal and on Today, 60 Minutes and Frontline.
Beginning in 2013, Woolley and his collaborators began studying the ways in which social media platforms and digital tools including automation, AI, and algorithms were being used to sow propaganda during major events around the globe. Together, they created the Computational Propaganda Research Project (ComProp), now based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Woolley is also the founder of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future, a 50-year-old think-tank based in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Prior to joining the faculty at UT, Woolley was the director of research of the ComProp Project at Oxford and the director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at IFTF. He has served as a research fellow at Google Jigsaw, a resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Digital Innovation Democracy Initiative, a Belfer Fellow at the Center for Technology and Society at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a research fellow at the TechPolicy Lab at the University of Washington, an associate policy fellow at GLOBSEC, a contributing author at the Brookings Institution’s Techstream, and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University. His PhD is from the University of Washington-Seattle.
Woolley lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, also named Sam, their son Penny, and their springer spaniel, Basket. He tweets from @samuelwoolley