Prince Harry said at an event on Tuesday that he warned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that his platform was being utilized to stage a coup against the federal government ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
In comments during the RE: WIRED conference to discuss, among other things, how culturally toxic social media has become, Harry also talked about the catchphrase “Megxit,” which he said was misogynistic and “created by a troll.”
He was also asked at one point if he ever had any conversations with Dorsey or Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Jack and I were emailing each other prior to January the 6th, where I warned him that his platform was allowing a coup to be staged,” Harry claimed. “That email was sent the day before, and then it happened, and I haven’t heard from him since.”
"Misinformation is a global humanitarian crisis”
Highlights from Prince Harry’s #REWIRED2021 session, where he spoke about working with @AspenInstitute, warning @Jack about a “coup” the day before the Capitol riot, and the journalists who repeat harmful lies invented by trolls. pic.twitter.com/t728fK6Us5
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) November 9, 2021
Harry also blasted the media, which he accused of headlining and reporting in ways to generate stories and profit rather than simply report the news.
“The truth is paywalled but the lies are free,” he said at one point.
“When a lie spreads on social media, it’s dangerous. Of course, it is. But when that same lie is given credibility by journalists or publishers, it’s unethical, and as far as I’m concerned an abuse of power,” he added.
Wired magazine said its reporters reached out to Twitter for a comment but did not receive a response.
“I learned from a very early age that the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of truth,” Harry went on to say, noting that the media in the United Kingdom is “prone to conflating profit with purpose.”
“They successfully turned fact-based news into opinion-based gossip with devastating consequences,” he noted. “I know this story all too well. I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and obviously, I’m determined not to lose the mother of my children to the same thing.”
Harry was part of a panel discussion on the topic of misinformation, which was moderated by Steven Levy, Wired’s editor-at-large. The panel also included Renée DiResta, technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, as well as Rashad Robinson, co-chair of the Aspen Commission on Information Disorder and president of Color Of Change.
“Misinformation has always existed,” DiResta said. “What’s different now is the way in which it spreads, the speed at which it spreads, and the way in which each individual person participates in moving information from their community into other communities.”
The spread of information on an individualized basis has created what DiRestra described as “bespoke realities, places where people tend to congregate with those who are very like-minded.”
Robinson went on to address the social justice aspects of social media and information spread.
“The fact of the matter is that inequality, injustice, all these things are not unfortunate, like a car accident. It is part of design,” he stated.
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