The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will campaign to end online hate speech, as they work with racial justice groups to take on internet giants.
The Duke and Duchess are supporting a campaign by American civil rights groups to call for “structural changes to the online world”, believing there is an “urgent and pressing need” for reform.
It includes the Stop Hate for Profit movement, led by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, Colour of Change and Anti Defamation League, which is urging businesses not to advertise on Facebook next month.
Launched after the death of George Floyd, it calls on brands to boycott advertising until the social media platform does more to combat the publication of hate speech and fake news.
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The NAACP said: “We are grateful for the leadership of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in recognising the importance of solidarity in this moment. Your commitment to truth, justice, and equality are appreciated.”
A source said the Sussexes, who are now based in Los Angeles, had been in discussions with campaigners about online hate speech, as well as personally encouraging chief executives to “stand in solidarity with a coalition of civil and racial justice groups”.
“The Duke and Duchess believe there is an urgent and pressing need to remodel the framework of our online public spaces in a way that is defined more by compassion than hate; by truth instead of misinformation; by equity and inclusiveness instead of injustice and fearmongering; free, not weaponised, speech,” they said, adding that it “will be reflected” in their forthcoming non-profit organisation, Archewell.
A report on Axios, a news website, stated: “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been privately advocating for the #stophateforprofit campaign, which includes a boycott of Facebook.”
A source, who has been working with the couple on the development of Archewell, said: “For a long time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been working on how to move the tech industry in a more humane direction.
“This includes their longstanding advocacy for supporting mental health in the social media era.”
The Sussexes had discussed the topic during a visit to Stanford University, intending it to be “fundamentally connected to what they are building into their new organisation Archewell”.
Now, they have been “working behind the scenes to urge global CEOs to stand in solidarity with civil rights and racial justice leaders”, the source said.
In 2018, the Duke of Cambridge criticised technology giants, warning they were failing to protect children from the hate and bile of social media and out of their depth in tackling the negative side of their platforms.