KEY POINTS

  • Prince Harry said he was "surprised" by how his and wife Meghan Markle's story has been told by the media
  • The Duke of Sussex believes the false tabloid coverage was the source of all the harassment toward them
  • Prince Harry and Markle are working with others aiming to fight the spread of misinformation

Prince Harry is speaking up about the dangers of spreading false information online and how the false tabloid coverage surrounding his relationship with wife Meghan Markle has made them wary of social media.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit social media and abandoned their Instagram account which had millions of followers when they officially stepped back as senior royals last year. Though fans thought the couple would eventually create new accounts, Prince Harry and Markle have not rejoined the social media sphere almost one year after their royal exit.

In a recent interview, Prince Harry explained that it was down to misinformation, which he blames for the harassment that he and Markle have endured over the years.

"I was really surprised to witness how my story had been told one way, my wife’s story had been told one way, and then our union sparked something that made the telling of that story very different," Prince Harry told Fast Company. "That false narrative became the mothership for all of the harassment you’re referring to. It wouldn’t have even begun had our story just been told truthfully."

He admitted that the false reports that circulated online affected their lives. But at the same time, it also led them to meet others around the world who are working to combat the spread of misinformation.

"But the important thing about what we experienced is that it led to us hearing from so many others around the world. We’ve thought a lot about those in much more vulnerable positions than us, and how much of a need there is for real empathy and support," he shared.

"To their own degree, everyone has been deeply affected by the current consequences of the digital space," he added. "It could be as individual as seeing a loved one go down the path of radicalisation or as collective as seeing the science behind the climate crisis denied. We are all vulnerable to it, which is why I don’t see it as a tech issue, or a political issue—it’s a humanitarian issue."

Prince Harry went on to address the Jan. 6 Capitol riot which left five people dead, including one police officer. The royal said people are losing loved ones, a sense of self and "democracies" due to the "barrage of mistruths."

"The magnitude of this cannot be overstated, as noted even by the defectors who helped build these platforms," he continued. "It takes courage to stand up, cite where things have gone wrong, and offer proposals and solutions. The need for that is greater than ever before. So I’m encouraged by and grateful for the groundswell of people who work—or have worked—inside these very platforms choosing to speak up against hate, violence, division, and confusion."

Prince Harry asserted that free speech and a "more compassionate and trustworthy digital world" can be achieved at the same time as they are not mutually exclusive.

Earlier this month, a source close to the couple told The Times of London that Prince Harry and Markle are likely done with social media due to the hate they received from online trolls. The insider said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had "no plans" to use social media to promote the work of their nonprofit, Archewell Foundation. 

However, another source called the report of Prince Harry and Markle abandoning social media, which has been a large part of their lives, for good "pure speculation."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were rejecting social media in both a personal and professional capacity as part of their new "progressive role" in the US, the Sunday Times said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were rejecting social media in both a personal and professional capacity as part of their new "progressive role" in the US, the Sunday Times said Photo: AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS