The More You Click, The More They Learn….
Prince Harry has hit the headlines once again, this time concerning his and wife Meghan’s personal campaign over certain aspects of social media.
The young Royal has accused social media platforms of not doing enough to tackle hate online in an article entitled “Social media is dividing us. Together we can redesign it.”, written for Fast Company, a US business magazine.
In the article, presented on 6th August, 2020, the Duke of Sussex revealed that during the previous month, he and Meghan had been contacting business leaders of major corporations. Prince Harry has asked that these companies divert funding and support of platforms that has ‘contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth.’
The move by the young Royals also coincides with a similar campaign by Stop Hate for Profit, which is urging large companies to withdraw advertising on the same platforms, namely Facebook.
Many ask what effect this will have, simply by not advertising?
Prince Harry explains:
“Well, many of us love and enjoy social media. It’s a seemingly free resource for connecting, sharing, and organising. 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. 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.”
The hundreds of organisations that have already withdrawn online advertising have proven it may work, by hitting them where it hurts - in the pocket. The platform has already lost $7 billion in withheld advertising revenue. Hundreds of companies have also boycotted other social media platforms too.
The Duke and Duchess of Suffolk aim to remodel the way that being online can currently create division between us. These divisions include:
- Hate and racism
- White nationalism
- Dangerous misinformation
- A well-established online culture promoting violence and bigotry.
The Duke has expressed that this will take every single one of us, internationally, to help challenge such allowances by online platforms.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate is helping organise the Stop Hate for Profit campaign across the UK and Europe. The CEO for the CCDH, Imran Ahmed, said “Social media gives bigots the opportunity to spread hate and misinformation to an audience of millions for free. In this coronavirus pandemic, especially when it comes to a potentially life-saving vaccine, the whole world has been made painfully aware that lies cost lives.”
Mr Ahmed echoes the revelations that the social media companies ignore their users because users are the product and not the customers. “Our data, our thoughts and our sentiments are packaged and sold to their real customers, the advertisers”.
The Duke of Sussex appears to be backed by numerous powerful companies in this fight against bigotry, false news and for equality and it may just work.