Prince Harry has penned an op-ed, calling for companies to be more compassionate on social media.
In the message published by Fast Company, the Duke of Sussex revealed that he and Meghan Markle have been calling “business leaders, heads of major corporations, and chief marketing officers at brands and organizations” with the message that the “digital landscape” needs to change.
“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,” Harry wrote.
Their efforts came at the same time as Stop Hate For Profit, the campaign boycotting Facebook ads to urge change around “online policies around hate speech.”
“The price we’re all paying is much higher than it appears. Whereas normally we’re the consumer buying a product, in this ever-changing digital world, we are the product,” Prince Harry said.
He continued, “From conversations with experts in this space, 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 weaponized, speech. This remodelling must include industry leaders from all areas drawing a line in the sand against unacceptable online practices as well as being active participants in the process of establishing new standards for our online world. Companies that purchase online ads must also recognize 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. 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 that after speaking with researchers the outlook for mental health for young people is “incredibly troubling.”
“We all need a better online experience. We’ve spoken with leaders across the racial justice movement, experts in humane tech, and advocates of mental health. And the collective opinion is abundantly clear: We do not have the luxury of time.”
Prince Harry added that the internet has connected us all but “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.”