Top Censorship Advocate Finds New Gig After Being Ousted From Harvard

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Joan Donovan, a prominent advocate for censorship and “disinformation” research, will be starting a new position at Boston University (BU) after departing Harvard earlier this year, according to the university.

Donovan served as the research director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, with her “disinformation” research there and elsewhere attracting criticism for a bias against conservatives. Her upcoming move to BU on September 1 follows her official termination from Harvard at the end of August, according to The Washington Post.

Donovan is also a board member of Check My Ads, an organization that pushes advertisers to ditch right-leaning media including Fox News to “defund hate speech and disinformation,” according to its website.

“When misinformation spreads from the digital to the physical world, it can redirect public resources and threaten people’s safety,” she wrote in 2020 for MIT Technology Review. “This is why social media companies must take the issue as seriously as they take their desire to profit.”

Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendor forced out Donovan earlier this year, the Harvard Crimson reported. There was heightening tension between Elmendorf and Donovan in 2021, Harvard Kennedy School staff members told the Crimson.

Donovan previously led a project called “The True Costs of Misinformation” at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, which sought to investigate the effects of online misinformation, but featured numerous panels targeting conservative ideas.

“How did American conservatives reach a point where their main political messages are either blatantly anti-democratic or outright falsehoods?” a presentation in the project read. Democrat-aligned dark money group New Venture Fund sponsored the project, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.

Donovan will be an assistant professor at BU starting September 1 in the Division of Emerging Media Studies and the journalism department, according to the university

Further, Donovan published a book in 2022 which examines how “far-right operatives wage wars against mainstream America” online, according to its description. The book is called “Meme Wars: The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America” and breaks down how right-leaning people weaponize memes to advance conspiracy theories, which led to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. (RELATED: Disinformation ‘Experts’ Are Keeping Quiet After Latest Twist In Hunter Biden Laptop Scandal)

“I was looking for a place that would offer me the most academic freedom, where they were also at a turning point in their own march through history, and I found BU very exciting,” Donovan said, according to the university.

Donovan is a “renowned expert in online misinformation and disinformation campaigns,” according to the university.

“I’m very excited to be working on producing events, colloquia and series that are about informing the public about technology being used to harm society,” Donovan told the Post. “Our goal is to be helpful within and beyond the university.”

BU and Donovan did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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