Prince Harry isn’t mincing words.
Ever since leaving the Royal Family — which the press dubbed “Megxit” after wife Meghan Markle — Harry has been upfront about his issues with his family and struggles in the public eye. He and Meg have also dedicated themselves to philanthropy and activism for causes they care about personally. And one of those causes just so happens to intersect with the “Megxit” phenomenon.
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On Tuesday, the Duke of Sussex participated in the “Internet Lie Machine” panel discussion at Wired magazine’s RE:WIRED virtual summit in NYC, where he discussed misinformation with experts. While it’s a topic that has affected us all in some way, it’s particularly near and dear to Harry’s heart. He explained:
“I felt it personally over the years, and I’m now watching it happen globally affecting everyone, not just America, literally everyone around the world. I learned from a very early age that the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of the truth.”
The 37-year-old cited some of his personal experience, like the fact that “more than 70 percent of the hate speech about my wife on Twitter can be traced to fewer than 50 accounts.” In fact, he shared:
“The term ‘Megxit’ was or is a misogynistic term that was created by a troll, amplified by world correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew onto mainstream media. But it began with a troll.”
Princess Diana’s son added:
“I know the story all too well. I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and obviously I’m determined not to lose the mother to my children to the same thing.”
Speaking more generally, the father of two called misinformation “a global humanitarian crisis,” saying:
“The scale of misinformation now is terrifying. No one’s safe from it, no one is protected from it. You can’t hide from it and we continue to see lives ruined, families destroyed in one single household.”
The military vet accused tabloid journalists of “amplifying the hate and the lies,” and “[regurgitating] these lies as truth.” He stated:
“This isn’t just a social media problem. It’s a media problem. I’ve grown up learning that news should be sacred ground. You don’t have to be [Succession’s] Logan Roy or Rupert Murdoch to understand that clickbait is the descendant of targeted advertising.”
As grim as the outlook may be, the prince shared some optimism as well:
“Real journalists have the power and the will to tackle racism, misogyny, lies, all of it from within their own systems.”
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He also reaffirmed his commitment to the cause, observing:
“People now more than ever want and need truth. They want and need trust, and they want and need transparency. We’re here to support them in any way possible.”
This seems like a really worthy issue to tackle, especially for someone who has felt the effects of it so personally. We hope Harry using his platform in this way will make a difference in stopping the spread of misinformation.
[Image via MEGA/WENN/Avalon]