Since leaving the UK for a quieter life in LA, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have also stepped away from their public Instagram account (@SussexRoyal) – but that doesn't mean they don't still spend time online.
It seems that social media is a new focus for Harry, as yesterday he wrote an article published by Fast Company titled 'Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it', in which he expresses his concerns for the future of society. Notably, he also writes, that he's worried as a father. Given that he and Meghan have been subjected to some especially harsh trolling over the last few years, it makes sense that making a fairer online world is somewhat of a passion for The Duke of Sussex.
He also expressed his concern that social media is leading to more people becoming radicalised: "Social media’s own algorithms and recommendation tools can drive people down paths towards radicalism and extremism that they might not have taken otherwise."
"Companies that purchase online ads must also recognise that our digital world has an impact on the physical world – on our collective health, on our democracies, on the ways we think and interact with each other, on how we process and trust information," writes the Prince. "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? As a father, this is especially concerning to me."
Harry also likened the harm that our digital world could cause the younger generation to lead exposure – something unanimously known to be dangerous. "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.
"There’s no debate over the dangers of lead today, but at the time, the development was met with strong resistance from industry leaders... 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."
Within his article, The Duke of Sussex also appeared to call out tech giants such as Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook (which has been repeatedly criticised for allowing targeted advertisements to influence people's political stances and thoughts), urging them to take action.
He also touched upon 'fake news' and said better regulated systems need putting in place, to ensure the information that we consume is factually accurate. "There are billions of people right now – in the midst of a global pandemic – who rely on algorithmically-driven information feeds to make judgments about fact vs. fiction, about truth vs. lies.
"One could argue that access to accurate information is more important now than any other time in modern history. And yet, the very places that allow disinformation to spread seem to throw their arms up when asked to take responsibility and find solutions."
On the topic of social media and life online, it was recently revealed that Prince Harry used to have a personal Instagram account with a rather quirky handle, inspired by one of his favourite musicians and an old nickname.
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