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Disinformation researcher accuses Meta of meddling in Harvard’s research

A close-up photo of Joan Donovan looking into the camera waring black glasses, a black shirt, and black leather jacket.
Joan Donovan is a prominent expert on disinformation campaigns. | Image: Whistleblower Aid

A prominent expert in online disinformation campaigns, Joan Donovan, says Meta pushed her former employer Harvard to shutter a major research project on media manipulation.

Donovan, who led Harvard’s Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC) until it ended this year, revealed her allegations earlier this week in a whistleblower complaint obtained by The Washington Post. She claims that Harvard scuttled her research after the charity of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $500 million to the university in 2021. Around that time, Donovan and her colleagues at TaSC were working with the infamous Facebook Files, a cache of leaked documents that revealed the inner workings of how Facebook handled…

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