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Prince Harry called out social media’s role in the Capitol riot. The Duke of Sussex made an appearance in a rare interview. The former senior royal said that “what happens when the real-world cost of misinformation is disregarded.” This comes amid the reports that Harry and his wife Meghan Markle left social media behind.
Speaking of which, the Brit also denied the rumors. But that doesn’t mean Harry doesn’t have his issues with social media. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their thoughts about the topic for many years. So, Harry’s latest comments on social media shouldn’t come as a shock to hardcore royal fans.
Prince Harry wants social media to change
The royal is calling for change. On Friday, January 22, Prince Harry had a rare interview with Fast Company. During the lengthy conversation, he was outspoken about the negative aspect of social media. Harry revealed that both misinformation and social media are to blame for the U.S. Capitol riot. He thinks the digital landscape needs a “remodeling” from the inside out.
“We have seen time and again what happens when the real-world cost of misinformation is disregarded. There is no way to downplay this,” Harry said. “There was a literal attack on democracy in the United States, organized on social media, which is an issue of violent extremism.”
In the interview, Harry cited examples as to how misinformation spreads on social media. He believes this causes humanitarian crises, such as the destruction of the Amazon and genocide in Myanmar. Harry compared social media to a “public square” that allows people to share their ideas and opinions. He argued that tech giants need to hold themselves accountable.
"We are losing loved ones to conspiracy theories, losing a sense of self because of the barrage of mistruths, and at the largest scale, losing our democracies." — Prince Harry, speaking to Fast Company https://t.co/odISqMs2gH
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) January 22, 2021
“I’m not saying we should abandon technology in favor of Speakers’ Corner,” Harry said. “Rather, it’s that we should avoid buying into the idea that social media is the ultimate modern-day public square and that any attempt to ask platforms to be accountable to the landscape they’ve created is an attack or restriction of speech.”
No, he did not leave social media
Prince Harry also denied a report that he and Meghan Markle left social media for good. He still feels that social media can be used for good. The ginger says that platforms “can offer a means of connecting and community, which are vital to us as human beings.” Instead of abandoning it altogether, the Sussexes want to work on the issue of social media through their new nonprofit venture, the Archewell Foundation.
Harry told Fast Company that he already spoke to experts in the field. They’re currently seeking solutions to improve social media platforms ranging from accountability to compassion. While there’s more work that needs to be done, Harry is hopeful about the future of the online space.
“I believe we can begin to make our digital world healthier, more compassionate, more inclusive, and more trustworthy,” he said later in the interview. “And it’s time to move from rethinking to remodeling.”
This isn’t the first time that Harry has spoken out about regulation online. He previously penned an essay for Fast Company. In August 2020, he urged companies to use their advertising dollars “to demand change from the very places that give a safe haven and vehicle of propagation to hate and division.”
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Harry that social media played a role in the Capitol riot? Sound off below in the comments.