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Professor Philip Howard

Professor of Internet Studies

Philip Howard

Professor of Internet Studies


Philip N. Howard is a statutory Professor of Internet Studies at Balliol College at the University of Oxford. Howard investigates the impact of digital media on political life around the world, and he is a frequent commentator on global media and political affairs. Howard’s research has demonstrated how new information technologies are used in both civic engagement and social control in countries around the world. His projects on digital activism, computational propaganda, and modern governance have been supported by the European Research CouncilNational Science FoundationUS Institutes of Peace, and Intel’s People and Practices Group.

He has published nine books and over 140 academic articles, book chapters, conference papers, and commentary essays on information technology, international affairs and public life. His articles examine the role of new information and communication technologies in politics and social development, and he has published in peer review journals such as the American Behavioral Scientist, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and The Journal of Communication. His first book on information technology and elections in the United States is called New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). It is one of the few books to ever win simultaneous “best book” prizes from the professional associations of multiple disciplines, with awards from the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, and the International Communication Association. His authored books include The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010), Castells and the Media (London, UK: Polity, 2011), Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012, with Muzammil Hussain), and Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015). He has edited Society Online: The Internet in Context (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004, with Steve Jones), the Handbook of Internet Politics (London, UK: Routledge, 2008, with Andrew Chadwick), State Power 2.0: Authoritarian Entrenchment and Political Engagement Worldwide (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013, with Muzammil Hussain) and Computational Propaganda: Political Parties, Politicians and Manipulation on Social Media (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018, with Samuel Woolley).

Howard has had senior teaching, research, and administrative appointments at universities around the world. He has been on the teaching faculty at the Central European University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, the University of Oslo, and the University of Washington. He has had fellowship appointments at the Pew Internet & American Life Project in Washington D.C., the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research at the London School of Economics, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. From 2013-15 he helped design and launch a new School of Public Policy at Central European University in Budapest, where he was the school’s first Founding Professor and Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society.  He currently serves as Director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, the leading center of research and teaching on technology and society.

Howard’s research and commentary writing has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and many international media outlets. He was awarded the National Democratic Institute’s 2018 “Democracy Prize” and Foreign Policy magazine named him a “Global Thinker” for pioneering the social science of fake news production.

His B.A. is in political science from Innis College at the University of Toronto, his M.Sc. is in economics from the London School of Economics, and his Ph.D. is in sociology from Northwestern University. His website is, and he tweets from @pnhoward.

Research Interests

Science and technology studies, internet, society, politics

Positions at the OII

  • Director, March 2018 - March 2021
  • Professor of Internet Studies, July 2016 -
  • Senior Research Fellow, January 2016 - June 2016


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Integrity Statement

In the past five years my work has been financially supported by public science agencies in the UK and EU, and foundations such as the Adessium Foundation, Ford Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Omidyar Network.

As part of my science communication and policy outreach, I have served in an unpaid advisory capacity to the Canadian Government, European Commission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UK House of Commons, UK House of Lords, and US House and Senate.

I have served in a paid advisory capacity to UNICEF, do strategic advising for public agencies and family offices, and am a co-founder of Oxford Pattrn.AI Analytics and Intelligence.

I conduct my research in line with the University's academic integrity code of practice.

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