Prince Harry has penned an essay for Fast Company about the concerns he and Meghan Markle share about social media’s damage on young people today, including his son, and called for sweeping change.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, wrote that after speaking with experts, he and Markle, 39, believe society has to rethink the way social media is used in order to create a space with less hate and more love.
“We believe we have 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 said in the essay.
Calling on social media industry leaders for their help, he expressed concern for his and Markle’s 1-year-old son, Archie, writing: “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 said he also believes the long-term effects of social media on young people should be taken seriously.
He stressed that leaders should act now, writing: “For companies that purchase online ads, it is one thing to unequivocally disavow hate and racism, white nationalism and anti-Semitism, dangerous misinformation, and a well-established online culture that promotes violence and bigotry. It is another thing for them to use their leverage, including through their advertising dollars, to demand change from the very places that give a safe haven and vehicle of propagation to hate and division.”
Harry said that while there are a few organizations working to create a better online environment, there is still a lot of work to be done.
“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 wrote. “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 Markle launched a civil rights and racial justice campaign called Stop Hate For Profit last month which “sought to change online policies around hate speech.”
In the past, he has spoken out against online racism and harassment toward Markle.