Prince Harry has opened up about the “harassment” he and Meghan Markle have faced on social media over the past few years.
After they tied the knot in May 2018, the couple launched a joint Instagram account (@SussexRoyal), which was managed by their social media team.
Harry and Meghan then abandoned the account last year, when they stepped down as senior working members of the royal family.
Since stepping down from their roles, the Sussexes are technically free to manage their own social media accounts, but the couple have decided against it.
Speaking on the Fast Company podcast on Friday, Harry shed light on their decision, and explained how they were subject to “harassment” online.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
“But the important thing about what we experienced is that it led to us hearing from so many others around the world,” Harry continued.
“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.”
“To their own degree, everyone has been deeply affected by the current consequences of the digital space. 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.”
Despite their current feelings, Harry has teased they may return to the likes of Instagram and Twitter in the future.
The father-of-one said: “We will revisit social media when it feels right for us—perhaps when we see more meaningful commitments to change or reform—but right now we’ve thrown much of our energy into learning about this space and how we can help.”
Harry’s comments come after Meghan opened up about being “the most trolled person in the entire world” last year, while recording a podcast in honour of World Mental Health Day.
In a separate interview last October, Meghan also said she needed to stay off social media “for her own self preservation”.
The former actress opened up about her decision during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Virtual Summit, and said she hasn’t been on social media “for a very long time”.
Meghan explained: “We had [an Instagram account] through the Institution and our office that was in the UK. But that wasn’t managed by us that was a whole team.”
“I have made a personal choice to not have any account, so I don’t know what’s out there and in many ways that’s helpful for me.”
“Something, algorithmically, is creating this obsession.”
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) October 13, 2020