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Prince Harry Speaks Out About Social Media Toxicity In Op-Ed: "The Digital Landscape Is Unwell"

Prince Harry Speaks Out About Social Media Toxicity In Op-Ed
August 7, 2020 - 10:20 / Hayley Paskevich

Using social media for good is something that Prince Harry feels strongly about! In a special magazine piece, Harry wrote an op-ed where he talked about the change that needs to occur in the digital sphere, and what he and Meghan Markle are doing to help. Read what he said!

Prince Harry is making it clear that he wants the nature of social media to change! As Entertainment Tonight shares, Harry wrote an op-ed for Fast Company on the topic, which was published on Thursday.

Harry and Meghan encourage platforms to take action

Prince Harry shared that he and Meghan Markle have been putting out a call to action when it comes to social media accountability. "A little over four weeks ago, my wife and I started calling business leaders, heads of major corporations, and chief marketing officers at brands and organisations we all use in our daily lives," he began the piece.

"Our message was clear: The digital landscape is unwell and 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."

Prince Harry during a visit to Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, England, 2019

Harry calls to "remodel the architecture" of social media

Harry went on to say in his piece for Fast Company that he sees a need 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."

He explained that there need to be "industry leaders" involved who are willing to draw "a line in the sand against unacceptable online practices" in order for his proposed model to work. "Because, if we are susceptible to the coercive forces in digital spaces, then we have to ask ourselves—what does this mean for our children?" Harry asked. "As a father, this is especially concerning to me."

Harry compares social media toxicity to lead poison

Harry further expanded on his point by drawing parallels between the toxicity of social media and poisonous lead. "In the 1970s, there was a groundbreaking study on the societal effects of lead exposure and kids. The research found a clear connection between lead accumulation in children and their mental development," Harry said.

"There’s no debate over the dangers of lead today, but at the time, the development was met with strong resistance from industry leaders (lead was used widespread in products like gas, house paint, and water pipes)," he explained. "Eventually, sweeping health and environmental reforms were put in place to change this."

"We knew something was harmful to the health of our children, so we made the necessary changes to keep them safe, healthy, and well. Researchers I’ve spoken with are studying how social media affects people -- particularly young people -- and I believe the book of data that we will look back on one day will be incredibly troubling."

Invictus Games collaboration: A series of texts between Prince Harry and Jon Bon Jovi were shared on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Instagram

Harry is hopeful for the future of internet platforms

Harry expressed his desire for the internet to become a place that does more good than harm in the future. "Our hope is that it’s the beginning of a movement where we, as people, place community and connection, tolerance and empathy, and joy and kindness above all," he said.

"The internet has enabled us to be joined together. We are now plugged into a vast nervous system that, yes, reflects our good, but too often also magnifies and fuels our bad," he concluded. "We can -- and must-- encourage these platforms to redesign themselves in a more responsible and compassionate way. The world will feel it, and we will all benefit from it."

Harry and Meghan are currently fighting the publication of private drone photos that were taken of their son, Archie. Harry also isn't the only royal who's spoken out about the harm the internet can cause, as his father Prince Charles has shared that he doesn't want his grandchildren on social media!