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The Telegraph

Sussexes turn their backs on social media due to online ‘hate’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have quit social media and will refuse to use platforms such as Twitter or Facebook to promote their activities, it has emerged. The move is thought to have been prompted by the couple’s disgust at the hatred and abuse directed at them on social media, particularly against Meghan. Prince Harry and his wife have significant reach on a number of platforms, having more than 10 million followers on Instagram alone. But they are understood to have said they will not be using any of them to build and promote their work in the United States, such as the new Archewell Foundation. A source close to the couple reportedly said they were “very unlikely” to return to platforms in a personal capacity. It marks a significant shift in their strategy as ‘progressive influencers’, and will be interpreted as being part of a wider rejection of what many see as the dark side of the unprecedented reach offered by social media giants. The Duchess has described her experience of online trolling and abuse as “almost unsurvivable”. The Sussexes have been increasingly willing to speak out about the negative aspect of much social media since leaving Britain and moving to the US, with Meghan describing herself as being “the most trolled person in the world”. It emerged in early 2019 that she had been bombarded with more than 5,000 abusive and racist tweets in two months, was subjected to threats of violence and even accused of faking her pregnancy. The decision to turn their back on social media came the day after Twitter permanently suspended the account of President Trump for his role in inciting the mob attack on the Capitol in Washington DC. Prior to her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, Meghan had significant social media presence as an actress, with 1.9 million followers on Instagram, 350,000 Twitter followers and 800,000 likes on her Facebook page. The abuse directed at Meghan and Kate prompted Buckingham Palace to issue a statement warning people engaging in their social media feeds that inappropriate content could be reported to police. During a virtual summit for the American publication Fortune last year, Meghan compared social media users to “people addicted to drugs” and in an opinion piece for the American magazine Fast Company, her husband said: “The digital landscape is unwell.” He wrote that social media had “stoked and created … a crisis of hate, a crisis of health and a crisis of truth”. A spokesman for the Sussexes’ branded the news as speculation but said that the couple would “continue to bring attention to improving the digital world in a more compassionate and trustworthy way.”


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