Prince Harry wants a social media overhaul. In an op-ed for Fast Company, he said that he and his wife Meghan Markle started calling on business leaders four weeks ago to “say our part about the rise of an unchecked and divisive attention economy.”
“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,” he wrote.
He said that they made the calls while helping promote the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which called on companies to stop advertising in Facebook until they stopped promoting “hate speech.”
Harry said that while social media seems free, it’s not: “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. The price we’re all paying is much higher than it appears. Whereas normally we’re the consumer buying a product, in this ever-changing digital world, we are the product.”
He added that sometimes, social media can lead users to radicalize their belief systems: “Social media’s own algorithms and recommendation tools can drive people down paths towards radicalism and extremism that they might not have taken otherwise.”
Harry noted that his and Meghan’s 14-month-old son shaped his beliefs and concerns. “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.”