“Bot Farms and Sockpuppet Armies: Understanding Propaganda in the of Era of Automation”

“Bot Farms and Sockpuppet Armies: Understanding Propaganda in the of Era of Automation” A talk by Samuel Woolley

WHEN: Feb. 14, 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: DMC 5.208

There’s no question about it. Propaganda ain’t what it used to be. With the wide availability of digital tools, and the anonymity they afford, deceptive influence and its polarizing effects are everywhere. In his new book, Manufacturing Consensus: Understanding Propaganda in the Era of Automation and Anonymity (2023), Sam Woolley provides an inside look at “the people who make, build and leverage technology in an attempt to manipulate public opinion.”

Join us on Feb. 14 in DMC 5.208 for a talk with Professor Woolley and panel discussion led by honors and graduate students.

In the book, which launches the day of the talk, Woolley shows how a wide variety of groups use computational tools (such as bots) and human-driven efforts (such as sockpuppets—real people assuming false identities online—and partisan influencers) to create the illusion of popularity or stir discontent for political purposes.

Sam Woolley is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and the School of Information, and is the project director for propaganda research at the Center for Media Engagement (CME) at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a research associate at the Project for Democracy and the Internet at Stanford University and has held past research affiliations at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at the University of California at Berkeley.  His previous book is The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth (2020)

This talk is sponsored by the Moody College Honors Program. It is free and open to the public.

CONTACT: Dave Junker, junker@austin.utexas.edu


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