Sarah Ferguson says she’s terrified of social media and never had a rivalry with Princess Diana in a powerful open letter.
The Duchess of York stands by Hello! magazine‘s #HelloToKindness campaign to put a stop to online bullying. It was recently reported that Kensington Palace had to deal with a shocking amount of abuse aimed toward Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton every week.
The royal writes, “Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with each other in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt.
“We need to pay more attention than ever to what we’re all being exposed to online. It’s time to confront head-on the fact that much of social media has become a sewer.
“I’m on Twitter and Instagram, and I’m grateful for the fact that they allow me to communicate directly with people who are interested, promote my charitable causes and let people read my own words rather than someone else’s slant on them.”
“The truth is, a lot about these sites terrifies me. I rarely if ever go ‘below the line’ on social media or news websites and read people’s comments.
“I know that a lot say nice things, but there’s a large minority who seem to think that all the normal rules of society don’t apply to the internet.”
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People feel licensed to say things online that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face and that encourages others to join in. It’s so ubiquitous that we have all become numb to what is going on. It is time to take a stand. I have written for @hellomag this week backing @emilynashhello #HelloToKindness campaign
She adds that abusive comments aren’t only aimed at those in the public eye but at other internet users.
Fergie shares, “Bullying, sniping, b***hing, even the most appalling sexism, racism and homophobia are commonplace – it seems that online, anything goes.
“I believe that it’s time to take a stand. This isn’t about freedom of speech. The truth is, it’s not acceptable to post abuse or threats on social media or news sites, and it’s not acceptable to harangue other users simply because they disagree with you. It’s not acceptable to pit women against one another all the time. It’s not acceptable to troll other people viciously online.”