Prince Harry and Meghan Lobby for Global Change, Damn Social Media ‘Crisis of Hate’

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend the Women's Empowerment reception hosted by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the Royal Aeronautical Society on April 19, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Britain’s Prince Harry on Thursday accused social media of stoking a “crisis of hate” as he revealed he and wife Meghan had been personally lobbying companies to rethink their roles in advertising on digital platforms in their dual effort to rebuild the world and the internet.

In a guest opinion piece for U.S. business magazine Fast Company headlined “Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it”, Harry said the couple have spent the past few weeks calling business leaders and marketing executives to lay out their case for change.

“Companies like yours have the chance to reconsider your role in funding and supporting online platforms that have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth,” wrote Harry. He did not name any companies.

He then lamented what he saw as “the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth” enveloping the world while casting a role for himself and Meghan as “social warriors” ready to right the wrongs of a decaying society. He said:

We did this at the same time as the launch of a civil rights and racial justice campaign called Stop Hate For Profit, which sought to change online policies around hate speech—in this case, policies at Facebook—by urging companies that regularly purchase digital ads on the platform to withhold their advertising spending for the month of July. As of the end of last month, the campaign (led by respected organisations like the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, and the NAACP) sent a $7 billion message through withheld ad dollars.

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From conversations with experts in this space, we believe we have to remodel the architecture of our online community in a way defined more by compassion than hate; by truth instead of misinformation; by equity and inclusiveness instead of injustice and fearmongering; by free, rather than weaponised, speech. This remodeling must include industry leaders from all areas drawing a line in the sand against unacceptable online practices as well as being active participants in the process of establishing new standards for our online world.

Harry and Meghan, formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, now live in Los Angeles after stepping down from their Royal roles in March to forge new careers.

The pair have increasingly been involved in all sorts of projects from environmentalism to travel reform, using the platform of their Royal entitlements to make their voices heard:

In a speech last month, Meghan urged teen girls and young women to drown out sometimes “painfully loud” negative online chatter with positivity.

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