Technology & Social Change

Led by Dr. Joan Donovan (@BostonJoan), The Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC) explores media manipulation as a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. TaSC conducts research, develops methods, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policy makers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns. 


Joan Donovan, PhD (Principal Investigator)
Research Director, Shorenstein Center
Director, Technology and Social Change Project

Latanya Sweeney, PhD (Co-PI)
Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology

Brandi Collins-Dexter
Associate Director

Emily Dreyfuss
Senior Managing Editor

Robert Faris, PhD
Senior Researcher

Brian Friedberg
Senior Researcher

Megan O’Neil
Project Manager

Lauren Faz
Project Assistant

Kaylee Fagan

Yulan Grant

Gabrielle Lim 

Fellows and Contributing Researchers

Alexei Abrams, PhD
Data Scientist Fellow

Brooklyne Gipson, PhD
Contributing Researcher

April Glaser
Senior Research Fellow

Jane Lytvynenko
Contributing Researcher

Marya Mtshali, PhD
Postdoc Fellow

Jennifer Nilsen
Research Fellow

Eesha Ramanujam
Research Fellow

Martin Rooke
Contributing Researcher

Jenna Ruddock
Research Fellow

Brandy Zadrozny
Contributing Researcher

Research Assistants

Amelia Acker
Erin Gallagher
Avriel Epps-Darling
Daniel Baymiller
Jazilah Salam
Talia Berniker

TaSC Team Projects

The Media Manipulation Casebook is a digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns. This resource is intended for researchers, journalists, technologists, policymakers, educators, and civil society organizers who want to learn about detecting, documenting, describing, and debunking misinformation.

True Costs of Misinformation
What are the financial, social, and human costs of misinformation? What is the price that businesses, hospitals, civil society groups, and schools pay for false or misleading information online? How can researchers support public officials and especially the communities targeted by disinformation campaigns when costing out “fake news funds” and building capacity for digital resilience? Can we put a price tag on misinformation, and if so, how, and who is responsible for paying it? 

Race, Media & Tech
The impacts of technology and mis-and disinformation in communities of color is under-researched and often misunderstood. Led by Joan Donovan and Brandi Collins-Dexter, the current research focus investigates racialized disinformation and how it mobilizes white supremacists’ violence, disrupts the advocacy of civil society organizations, and saps the public’s ability to discern truth from disinformation. A term coined by Joan Donovan and Brandi Collins-Dexter, racialized disinformation refers to media manipulation campaigns that employ the strategic use of falsified racial or ethnic identities, and focus on race as a political wedge issue.

News Leaders Summit
The Shorenstein Center News Leaders program brings together small cohorts of press leaders to tackle the problem of misinformation-at-scale and media manipulation. Over the course of a semester, the News Leaders work with one another, and with Shorenstein Center faculty and staff, including Director Nancy Gibbs, Research Director Dr. Joan Donovan, Dr. Rob Faris, and journalist Emily Dreyfuss, to develop procedures and protocols to handle this threat to the media ecosystem and the functioning of democracy.

Meme War Weekly (MWW) is a newsletter dedicated to addressing political messaging that comes from the wilds of the internet. 

BIG, If True is a webinar series, hosted by Dr. Joan Donovan and presented by the Technology and Social Change Research Project. Sign up for event updates or listen to past webinars.

Political Pandemonium 2020 was a series of three digital workshops, hosted by Dr. Joan Donovan and the Technology and Social Change Project, exploring the harmful effects of media manipulation on our society.

Research Papers

Mitigating Medical Misinformation: A Whole-of-Society Approach to Countering Spam, Scams, and Hoaxes by Joan Donovan, PhD, Brian Friedberg, Gabrielle Lim, Nicole Leaver, Jennifer Nilsen, and Emily Dreyfuss

Canaries in the Coal Mine: COVID-19 Misinformation and Black Communities by Brandi Collins-Dexter

Space Invaders: The Networked Terrain of Zoom Bombing by Brian Friedberg, Gabrielle Lim, and Joan Donovan

In the News and Writings

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