Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex holding their son Archie. Picture: Toby Melville/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex holding their son Archie. Picture: Toby Melville/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Meghan and Harry call for Facebook ad boycott over hate speech

By Mario Ledwith Time of article published Jun 29, 2020

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London - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have pressured bosses of the world’s biggest companies to pull adverts from Facebook in an attempt to stop the spread of hate speech.

They have asked executives to "stand in solidarity" with anti-racism campaigners who are calling for a mass boycott of the social media site.

The royal couple’s involvement came as the tech giant was accused of reducing freedom of speech to "little more than a PR exercise" after announcing censorship rules amid mounting pressure.

Facebook said that it would begin labelling "problematic" posts after companies including Coca-Cola, Levi’s and Honda began pulling advertising from the site.

The boycott, organised by a US civil rights coalition Stop Hate for Profit, has seen Facebook’s market value slashed by £45billion in little more than a week.

Harry and Meghan have emerged as two of the most high-profile figures supporting calls to target social media firms.

The couple, who are now living in Los Angeles with their son Archie, held discussions with prominent anti-racism groups after the death of George Floyd in the US sparked mass anti-racism protests.

The groups created the Stop Hate for Profit campaign earlier this month to pile pressure on Facebook, which they accuse of "promoting hate, bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism and violence".

It wants companies to stop working with the Silicon Valley giant, which relies on advertising for the vast majority of its income, until it does more to remove posts that fuel tensions.

The Sussexes, who quit as senior royals in March, have asked bosses to listen to anti-racism campaigners in order to make "structural changes to our online world".

Sources said the pair have spoken to figures from the tech, media, consumer goods, food and drink and clothing sectors. They want to make tackling online hate speech a key plank of their new charitable organisation, Archewell.

On Friday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced several measures to tackle "divisive and inflammatory language... used to sow discord".

Some controversial posts that could breach Facebook’s guidelines will be allowed to remain on the site if moderators decide the public interest outweighs possible harm. Such posts will have a label attached describing them as "newsworthy" and detailing how they possibly violate rules.

Mr Zuckerberg said: "We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society."

Daily Mail

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