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Harvard University Journal Retracts Fake Disinformation Criticism Of ADOS Reparations Organization

Harvard University Journal Retracts Fake Disinformation Criticism Of ADOS Reparations Organization

Harvard

Harvard University Journal Retracts Fake Disinformation Criticism Of ADOS Reparations Organization. Image credit: Moguldom

On Jan. 18, 2021, Harvard University’s Harvard Kennedy School published an article entitled Disinformation creep: ADOS and the strategic weaponization of breaking news” that was decidedly anti-ADOS.

ADOS is an acronym for American Descendants of Slavery, a growing reparations movement started in 2016 by Yvette Carnell, formerly a board member of Progressives for Immigration Reform, and attorney Antonio Moore. The Harvard article accused ADOS of spreading misinformation.

If you click on the link today, you will note that the article was retracted on Dec. 20, 2021, by Harvard University Journal.

After receiving complaints about the article, the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review Editorial Staff said they “found flaws in the methodology, as well as discrepancies between the data and the findings reported by the authors, resulting in unsubstantiated conclusions drawn from their analyses.”

The writer of the article said they had conducted “a descriptive content analysis from a sample of a dataset made up of 534 thousand scraped tweets, supplemented with access to 1.36 million tweets from the Twitter firehose, from accounts that used the #ADOS hashtag between November 2019 and September 2020,” according to the retraction note.

The authors said they found that the ADOS network “strategically uses breaking news events to discourage Black voters from voting for the Democratic party, a phenomenon we call disinformation creep. Conversely, the ADOS network has remained largely silent about the impact of the novel coronavirus on Black communities, undermining its claims that it works in the interests of Black Americans.” 

The university has also commissioned an external independent review to verify the initial investigation findings. 

In a letter directed to the university, ADOS said, “At a time when our wealthiest colleges and universities ought to be reckoning with the distinct role that slavery played in creating and sustaining them and working with Black communities outside of academia to secure racial justice, it is regrettable to see Harvard University using its institutional might to try and discredit and libel activists most committed to that cause.”

The letter continued that the article was “a clear attempt to use the Ivy League institution’s esteemed name to legitimize an ongoing smear campaign directed at the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement. The report ascribes a familiar set of demonstrably false motivations to our political advocacy, with the authors frequently substituting subjective claims, innuendo, and outright lies for the sort of empirically-backed assertions one would expect to find in a publication from such a prestigious university.”

The ADOS Advocacy Foundation tweeted, “Harvard RETRACTED!”

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After the post-publication review process was completed, the school retraction note admitted that the authors’ data “failed to meet professional standards of validity and reliability… The retraction decision was not taken lightly but is one that we feel was necessary, as certain of the principal conclusions reported in this paper cannot be considered reliable or valid.”

The university invited the authors to respond to the issues identified by the two reviewers. According to the retraction note, “In their response, the authors conceded several of the defects in the study identified by the internal and external reviewers.”