Meghan Markle says the ‘bad voices’ on social media are ‘so loud and damaging’ – after claiming she quit her accounts for her own self preservation.
This afternoon the Duke and Duchess of Sussex hosted a special edition of TIME100 Talks about the ‘state of our digital experience’, tuning in from their $14million Santa Barbara mansion.
Dressed in an Alexander McQueen black suit, Meghan, 39, admitted that while she and Harry ‘don’t speak tech’, they ‘know the experience of being a human being and the pain and suffering and joy that has come from this worldwide web’.
Meanwhile Harry said online platforms are ‘distracting us from the things we should be focused on’, adding: ‘What is happening in the online world is affecting the world. This is a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation, and a global health crisis.’
Harry concluded the talk by borrowing the Brexit Leave campaign’s tagline, urging people to ‘take back control’ of their use of social media and mobile devices.
Presented in partnership with P&G and themed around the topic of ‘Engineering a Better World,’ the special episode tied into Harry, 35, and Meghan’s desire to build online communities that are more compassionate, safe, and trustworthy.
The couple also said they’re ’embracing every moment’ of spending more time with their son Archie during the pandemic. Speaking to Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal, Meghan said: ‘We are trying to embrace all the quality time we get with our son and embrace every moment of his growth and development.’
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry say they’re ’embracing every moment’ of spending more time with their son Archie during the pandemic
Asked how they are doing, Harry pointed out that before 2020, the question was one people ‘threw around’ – but he reported that they’re ‘good’, adding: ‘There’s a lot of stuff to be focused on, a lot of work.
‘This is an opportunity to spend more time as a family than we probably would otherwise.’
The episode featured conversations with a range of guests, including Reddit co-founder and founder of 776 Alexis Ohanian, and Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa.
During Meghan’s conversation with Alexis, her close friend tennis star Serena Williams’ husband, who spent 15 years building the Reddit platform, the duo discussing trolling and the responsibility of social media platforms to address the issue.
Alexis admitted that investing in tools to reduce ‘toxicity’ is something the industry ‘put off’ for a long time.
During her conversation with Alexis, Serena Williams’ husband, who spent 15 years building the Reddit platform, the duo discussing trolling
Meghan told how she read about an employee of YoutTube filing for PTSD because of the stress they took home every day. ‘Can you imagine carrying that every day, it’s everyone who ends up affected by it,’ she said. ‘The good outweighs the bad but goodness the bad can be so loud the damage that happens as a result of that.
‘You tweeted recently, we haven’t begun to realise the legacy and effect of these platforms and what social media and what the online space it is doing to us on a deeper level. We’re in it now but we have a chance to get ourselves out of it.’
Meghan recently insisted that all social media users are like ‘people who are addicted to drugs’ during a virtual summit appearance – despite spending many years as a prolific Instagram user. She drew the bold comparison during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Virtual Summit – an online event that was reserved for invited guests willing to pay a $1,750 fee.
She told Fortune associate editor Emma Hinchliffe that she has ‘not been on social media for a very long time’ – despite sharing an official Sussex Royal account with Prince Harry for several years before they stepped down as senior royals.
Meghan and Harry suggested that fake news could be eradicated by push notifications when shared stories and social media posts are found to be untrue, with the duchess admitting that while they ‘don’t speak tech’, they ‘know the experience of being a human being and the pain and suffering and joy that has come from this worldwide web’
Harry concluded the talk by borrowing the Brexit Leave campaign’s tagline, urging people to ‘take back control’ of their use of social media and mobile devices
In June this year, Alexis announced his resignation from the board of Reddit and urged the company to replace him with a black candidate.
He told Meghan he ‘made the right choice’ for his mixed-race daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, but that he still received hate mail over it.
‘I hope that this is really a first step for me to try and just be more deliberate in the work that I’m doing, and frankly more effective in the work that I’m doing, to create a better future for my daughter and lots of other people who look like her,’ he said.
‘Companies are going to be more successful the more diversity they have, because that means a broader range of ideas.’
The duchess agreed with this sentiment and described how they shared a similar experience with raising mixed race children: ‘I’m sorry to hear you’re still receiving hate mail, I know we have shared experiences in being in an interracial marriage and raising small children who are mixed race and how that plays into that.’
Meghan and Alexis discussed online hate and extremist indoctrination, with Alexis observing how easy it is to commune with people online in the same way as offline.
In June this year, Alexis (pictured with wife Serena Williams) announced his resignation from the board of Reddit and urged the company to replace him with a black candidate. He told Meghan he ‘made the right choice’ for his mixed-race daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, but that he still received hate mail over it
Alexis said he believes there is some work that needs to be done to ‘de-radicalize a generation’, especially in the US, who feel very ‘disaffected, left behind and frustrated’ who found ‘solace, community and kinship’ in dark corners of the internet that ‘normalize socially toxic behavior’, whether that be ‘racism or misogyny’.
‘The reality is, we all have examples now of people who have built very close relationships with people they don’t even know offline,’ he said.
‘It is not a leap to consider the effects of what this does for recruiting those really abhorrent ideologies and communities that can be formed… What sometimes gets waved off as just a joke is a way to actually normalize really problematic behavior and I think that’s going to be the really difficult accounting that we’ll have to have in the next 10 years where we figure out how to bring a lot of those folks back, to de-radicalize.’
Meghan referenced a statistic published in the Wall Street Journal which claimed 66 per cent of people joining extremist groups is because it’s been recommended to them on Facebook.
‘This gateway that takes you down a path you weren’t even intending to go, but the adverse effect of that is tremendous,’ she said.
Those featured in the episode also included Center for Humane Technology president and co-founder Tristan Harris, activist and author and co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Safiya U. Noble.
Those featured in the episode also included Center for Humane Technology president and co-founder Tristan Harris, activist and author and co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Safiya U. Noble, pictured with the Sussexes
During this discussion the couple suggested that fake news could be eradicated with push notifications when things are found to be untrue.
Harry suggested: ‘Even once it’s removed that’s not the solution, what they need to do is go back and say that thing you see a few weeks ago wasn’t true,’ to which Meghan interjected: ‘The way you get a push notification, one to say this isn’t true, this thing you believed, giving the facts and correcting mistruths when they get picked out.’
Safia said the way to make change is to vote for leaders who understand the problems, adding: ‘The best thing people can do is vote for people and policies who are truly aware of what is happening.’
She added that social media does have the power to galvanize worthy causes, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
This afternoon the Duke and Duchess of Sussex hosted a special edition of TIME100 Talks about the ‘state of our digital experience’ – pictured with Time Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal
Harry said he sees the digital space ‘hampering the progress that needs to be made when it comes to campaigns he and his wife are passionate about, including the environment and female empowerment.
‘This misinformation that seems to snowball from one place that is the online space and then ending up in our physical world, a lot of the time we don’t know where it comes from, we don’t know how to trace it back,’ he said.
‘There’s an overwhelming desire for everybody out there for truth, because there is so much information being thrown around from one side to the other. What is happening in the online world is affecting the world.
It is not restricted to certain platforms or certain social media conversations or groups. This is a global crisis – a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation, and a global health crisis.’
Meghan added that it cane feel ‘really overwhelming’ to try to understand all the nuance of what happens online, which is ‘all-encompassing’ and ‘affects us at a multi-faceted level’.
Disinformation researcher Renée DiResta, Somewhere Good founder Naj Austin, founder of The Loveland Foundation Rachel Cargle, and the hosts of Teenager Therapy, with whom the Sussexes recorded a podcast earlier this month, also made an appearance during the talk.
Harry concluded by borrowing the Brexit Leave campaign’s tagline, urging people to ‘take back control’ of their use of social media and mobile devices.
‘I think there’s so much that we can do to help ourselves, but there’s so much more that we can do that our act, our decisions, how it impacts everybody else as well, both online and off,’ he said.
‘I think that power of retaining, the taking back control, each and every one of us, taking back control so we are not controlled by this platform, not controlled by this device, and there are certain things that we and you can do that will make a huge impact in your own life and that will be felt across the world because over half the world is connected in this sense.’
Last week a photograph of the couple was released ahead of the event, showing beaming mother-of-one Meghan alongside her husband of two years, who has a protective arm behind her.
In the black and white image the pair are wearing matching outfits, with Harry, whose hair appears to be receding, going without a tie and leaving his top button open in his trademark casual style.
Last week a photograph of the couple was released ahead of the event, showing beaming mother-of-one Meghan alongside her husband of two years, who has a protective arm behind her
Meghan is re-wearing an Alexander McQueen Grain de Poudre suit—blazer $1,995 (£1,544) and trousers $795 (£615) which she first wore in February 2018 when she attended the annual Endeavour Fund Awards.
On her wrist, she has a Cartier ‘Love’ Bracelet worth $6500 (£5,031), as well as what appears to be Princess Diana’s gold Cartier Tank Française watch.
The watch, thought to be a present from Harry, was worth $23,000 (£17,800) at the time but is now likely worth a lot more given its history.
TIME editor in chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal commented: ‘Since launching in April, TIME100 Talks has focused on solutions and visions of a better future through conversations with extraordinary leaders from around the world.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have recently been outspoken on a range of hot-button issues including the addictive nature of social media, Black Lives Matter and voter suppression. They joined Malala Yousafzai for a virtual chat earlier this month (pictured)
‘This special episode marks our first collaboration, and we are thrilled to partner with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to explore these urgent issues.’
Dan Macsai, TIME executive editor and editorial director of the TIME100, added: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, both TIME100 alumni, are among the most influential voices in the world.
‘We look forward to working with them to elevate essential voices and highlight real solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have recently been outspoken on a range of hot-button issues including the addictive nature of social media, Black Lives Matter and voter suppression.
TIME100 Talks has convened more than 100 notable guests – including U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, advocate Rev. Bernice A. King, immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, musicians John Legend and Elton John, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Dalai Lama.
It has generated more than 50 million video views across TIME’s platforms since launching in April.