Even though Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moved to L.A., the Duke of Sussex remains very conscious of global concerns.
Few concerns are more global than social media, and Harry is pleading with industry leaders to manage these platforms responsibly.
Prince Harry wrote an opinion piece for Fast Company in which he speaks about how he and Meghan want to improve the social media landscape.
This summer, the royal couple "started calling business leaders, heads of major corporations, and chief marketing officers."
"The digital landscape is unwell," Harry laments. But he hopes to change that.
Harry tells online advertisers that "companies like yours have the chance to reconsider your role in funding and supporting online platforms."
These are platforms "that have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth."
From troll farm harassment on Twitter to Nazi indoctrination videos on YouTube to misinformation on Facebook, bad people use any platform available to make the world worse.
"We did this at the same time as the launch of a civil rights and racial justice campaign called Stop Hate For Profit," Harry notes.
This was a campaign "which sought to change online policies around hate speech — in this case, policies at Facebook."
They pushed for change "by urging companies that regularly purchase digital ads on the platform to withhold their advertising spending for the month of July."
Notably, that effort paid off, sending the social behemoth a message to the tune of $7 billion less in advertising revenue for July.
"Many of us love and enjoy social media," Harry notes. It can be fun, allow disenfranchised minorities to connect, and it fosters its own subcultures.
Describing social media, Harry adds "It’s a seemingly free resource for connecting, sharing, and organising."
"But it’s not actually free; the cost is high," Harry laments. "Every time you click, they learn more about you."
"Our information, private data, and unknown habits are traded on for advertising space and dollars," he explains.
Repeating what others have very accurately said, Harry spells it out: "we are the product."
"We believe we have to remodel the architecture of our online community," Harry wisely expresses.
The social media environment must change "in a way defined more by compassion than hate; by truth instead of misinformation."
We should exist in an online world defined "by equity and inclusiveness instead of injustice and fearmongering."
"By free, rather than weaponized, speech," Harry adds.
"This remodeling must include industry leaders from all areas drawing a line in the sand against unacceptable online practices," he emphasizes.
Harry continues: "as well as being active participants in the process of establishing new standards for our online world."
"As a father, this is especially concerning to me," Harry acknowledges.
He then makes a compelling analogy to the study of the ways in which lead exposure impacts developing minds.
Now, it is common knowledge, but in the 1970s, there was pushback against studies on the matter. He feels that social media may follow in lead’s footsteps.
"We have an opportunity to do better and remake the digital world," Harry states optimistically.
He hopes that together, industry leaders will come together "to look at the past and use it to inform the future."
That is very wise.
He acknowledges the rapid rate of technological advancement over "the past two decades" that has changed our world.
"Advancements in technology and media have outgrown many of the antiquated guardrails that once ensured they were being designed and used appropriately," Harry warns.
It is true.
That is some compelling stuff. Notably, social media currently takes very few steps to be responsiblet towards its content except where required by law.
In Germany, Twitter has effectively banned Nazis, but refuses to do so in other countries.
We won’t hold our breath for massive corporations run by egomaniacal lunatics to make moral choices but hey, it could still happen. Potentially.