Prince Harry has described online misinformation as a “global humanitarian issue” that needs to be tackled by policies including investment in local journalism and cracking down on super-spreaders of false content.
The Duke of Sussex contributed to a report by a US thinktank into disinformation, which made 15 recommendations after a six-month study.
Publicising the report on the website for Archewell, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s charitable foundation, Harry described the “mis- and disinformation crisis” as a global humanitarian issue. Harry was a member of the commission on information disorder at the Aspen Institute, a US thinktank.
He added: “I hope to see the substantive and practical recommendations of our commission taken up by the tech industry, the media industry, by policymakers, and leaders. This affects not some of us, but all of us.”
The 15 recommendations from the report, which was written by three co-chairs on the commission including the TV journalist Katie Couric, focus on the US and include “substantial” investment in local journalism; more diverse workforces at social media companies; holding misinformation super-spreaders to account; and creating a US government “national response strategy” for tackling misinformation.
Harry was one of 15 commissioners on the report who contributed via research and working groups. Other commissioners included Kathryn Murdoch, co-founder of the Quadrivium Foundation along with her husband, James Murdoch – the youngest son of media tycoon Rupert.
“Information disorder makes any health crisis more deadly. It slows down our response time on climate change,” the report said. “It undermines democracy. It creates a culture in which racist, ethnic, and gender attacks are seen as solutions, not problems. Today, mis- and disinformation have become a force multiplier for exacerbating our worst problems as a society. Hundreds of millions of people pay the price, every single day, for a world disordered by lies.”
Speaking at a conference in the US last week, Harry accused British journalists of amplifying the “hate and the lies” spread by some social media accounts. Last week the Duchess of Sussex apologised to the court of appeal, saying that she had not intended or wished to mislead the court but had “forgot” she had authorised a senior aide to brief the authors of her and Harry’s unofficial biography. Associated Newspapers is appealing against the Duchess’s victory in a high court privacy case against the Mail on Sunday.