What Do We Have Here? Harvard in Bed with Meta!

the whistle, the, whistle, meta, harvard, joan donovan

A Former Harvard Scholar Blew the Whistle

Former Harvard disinformation scholar, Dr. Joan Donovan, blew the whistle on the institutions for prioritizing its relationship with Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

  • Donovan, in a detailed 123-page declaration, claims that Harvard restricted her research after receiving a $500 million donation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
  • Following the massive donation, work became a show of gymnastic prowess as Donovan had to jump over obstacles.

Former disinformation scholar at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) blew the whistle on the esteemed institution for catering to Meta by shutting down her research project.

In the 123-page declaration sent to Harvard leaders and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Dr. Joan Donovan claims that Harvard began restricting her research after receiving a $500 million donation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to fund a new AI center.

It all started with Frances Haugen two years ago. In October 2021, Haugen, an American product manager and former Facebook employee, blew the whistle on Meta. She disclosed tens of thousands of internal Facebook documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and The Wall Street Journal. These documents revealed that Facebook prioritizes engagement over safety. It also often makes decisions that harm users, such as prioritizing the spread of misinformation.

At the time, Donovan had been leading Harvard’s Technology and Social Change Research Project since 2018, conducting studies on media manipulation campaigns. According to the declaration, Donovan had received “the entire contents of Frances Haugen’s cache of internal Facebook documents.” It was all downhill from there.

Through emails and texts, Donovan showcased the obstacles she faced in hiring and project approval after revealing her possession of the Facebook Papers during a donor meeting in October 2021. Shortly after, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, run by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, donated $500 million to fund a new university-wide center on AI.

Oh, what a coincidence!

Harvard vehemently denies Donovan’s claims. An HKS spokesman, James F. Smith, affirmed that “the narrative is full of inaccuracies and baseless insinuations, particularly the suggestion that [HKS] allowed Facebook to dictate its approach to research.”

Despite Harvard’s denial, Donovan’s disclosure, sent on her behalf by Whistleblower Aid, demands an investigation into Harvard’s actions and corrective measures to protect academic freedom.

The declaration makes it apparent that the writing was on the wall since that donor meeting. And with everything going on surrounding Meta across the globe, are we really surprised by their betrayal of academic integrity?

Research critical of industries or companies is crucial. It is through them that we remain disillusioned with those who believe that they are beyond reproach. These discussions keep us level. If misinformation and disinformation are running rampant on social media platforms and the companies force institutions’ hands into catering to them, who do we trust? Where do we go?

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