For some time now, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been vocal advocates for social media reform. After receiving vile abuse, the royal couple have noticed how the internet can be a hateful echo chamber at times.
Despite all the criticism that he and his wife have received online, Prince Harry continues to speak out. And his ire has now been aimed squarely at the big social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Prince Harry Says Social Media Creates a “Crisis of Hate”
In an interview with Fast Company, the Duke of Sussex doubled down on his distaste for social media as it stands today.
Last year, Prince Harry wrote a passionate opinion piece for the same publication, writing that the owners of today’s online platforms “have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth.”
Harry stated that his perspective hasn’t changed since the publication of his essay. If anything, it seems that recent events have only proven his point.
The British royal claims that the power that social media wields and the need to use that power in a safe and supportive way cannot be overstated.
While he wants everyone to actively try and make a positive change, he especially looks to the industry leaders in all areas to transform the current digital ecosystem.
Harry says, “I’m encouraged by and grateful for the groundswell of people who work—or have worked—inside these very platforms choosing to speak up against hate, violence, division, and confusion.”
Prince Harry Reacts to the US Capitol Riots
When asked for his thoughts on the recent attack on the US Capitol, Harry replied, “I think it’s a false choice to say you have to pick between free speech or a more compassionate and trustworthy digital world. They are not mutually exclusive.”
He believes that asking platforms to be made accountable for the hateful landscape they have created should not be viewed as an attack or restriction of speech. Alluding to the discussions that have taken place online after former US president Donald Trump was permanently banned from Twitter.
Furthermore, he discusses the power of the algorithm, and how it can strongly affect how people think and react.
He cites this as the reason why social media should be used to reliably share news with the masses, not as a means to scare people into acting irrationally and violently.
Why the Royal Couple Receive So Much Backlash
In March 2020, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle posted on Instagram that they would be stepping down from their roles as senior royals. They haven’t posted to the account since.
While the two definitely received much criticism prior to their announcement (as every royal couple has in the past), it’s the abandonment of their duty as royals that struck a chord with those that have more traditional views.
Will Social Media Ever Change?
You can’t help but feel hopeful when a person in a position of power uses that power to push for something that would impact everyone in a better way.
Whether or not Prince Harry’s words will actually get the ball rolling remains to be seen, but the sentiment is very much appreciated nevertheless.
Image Credit: Office of the Governor-General/Wikimedia Commons