Prince Harry says social media has fueled a 'crisis of hate'

The Duke of Sussex says he's 'especially concerned' about online dangers as a father

Prince Harry is speaking out about the dangers of social media.

The Duke of Sussex, 35, penned an essay for Fast Company in which he demands reform across social media platforms, specifically noting that he's more concerned than ever before because he's now a father.

Writing on behalf of himself and wife Meghan Markle, Harry explained the ways in which the British royal couple has recently pushed industry leaders toward "meaningful" change.

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"Our message was clear: 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," the duke said.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards in London on March 5.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards in London on March 5. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Harry argues that, while social media is enjoyed by many, technological advances in recent years have made it an increasingly dangerous place for users.

"It's a seemingly free resource for connecting, sharing, and organizing," he wrote. "But it's not actually free; the cost is high. Every time you click they learn more about you. Our information, private data, and unknown habits are traded on for advertising space and dollars."

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He said consumers who peruse the internet daily in search of buying new products have unwillingly become "the product."

Harry said he and the Duchess of Sussex have been holding talks with experts to figure out how hate can be replaced with "compassion" and truth can take the place of "misinformation."

Britain's Prince Harry attends the UK Africa Investment Summit in London on Jan. 20.

Britain's Prince Harry attends the UK Africa Investment Summit in London on Jan. 20. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool via AP)

"This remodeling 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," Harry continued.

He applauded the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) for being committed to evaluating hate speech.

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It's an argument of privacy that hits close to home for the Sussexes. Meghan is embroiled in a lawsuit against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline over five articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Similarly, the couple also recently filed an invasion of privacy complaint against snooping paparazzi for taking photos of them and their son, Archie, in their new Los Angeles, Calif. home.

(L-R) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in September 2019.

(L-R) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in September 2019. (Toby Melville/Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

In his essay, Harry spoke about the dangers he feels the world is facing and how it's placing additional dangers on children.

"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," he wrote.

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Harry added that platforms' algorithms "can drive people down paths towards radicalism and extremism that they might not have taken otherwise."

"We need meaningful digital reform, and while the role of policymakers and regulators is important, we can’t just wait for them to take the next steps," he concluded.