Prince Harry blamed social media for the Capitol siege and opened up about the online harassment Meghan Markle faced

Prince Harry blamed social media for the Capitol siege and opened up about the online harassment Meghan Markle faced
Prince Harry attends the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games on October 29, 2019 in London, England.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
  • Prince Harry blamed social media for the Capitol riots, which he described as "violent extremism."
  • Harry said social media companies should be held accountable after rioters used them to organize the attack.
  • The duke also blamed the media for creating a "false narrative" about Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry opened up about the harmful effects of social media in a rare candid interview.

Speaking to Fast Company, the Duke of Sussex blamed social media platforms for allowing "violent extremism." He shared details of the online abuse he and his wife, Meghan Markle, have been subjected to in recent years.

Read more: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry broke a world record when they launched their Instagram account. Now, the couple has quit social media due to the 'hate' they experienced.


The duke highlighted the role social media played in the Capitol siege on January 6, after Trump supporters and members of extremist groups used mainstream platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to organize the riots in protest of Joe Biden's election win.

"We have seen time and again what happens when the real-world cost of misinformation is disregarded," Harry told the publication. "There is no way to downplay this. There was a literal attack on democracy in the United States, organized on social media, which is an issue of violent extremism."

Others used right-wing messaging apps like Parler, Gab, and Telegram to outline plans to storm the building.


Read more: 'Buy more guns and ammo': The far-right is using messaging apps like Telegram to organize after the Capitol riot

Harry added that we should "avoid buying into the idea that social media is the ultimate modern-day public square and that any attempt to ask platforms to be accountable to the landscape they've created is an attack or restriction of speech."

"I think it's a false choice to say you have to pick between free speech or a more compassionate and trustworthy digital world. They are not mutually exclusive," he said.


Prince Harry says the media's 'false narrative' became the 'mothership for all of the harassment' he and Meghan faced

The royal also spoke about the online abuse he and the Duchess of Sussex have faced since they married in 2018.

Harry said he was 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."

"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," he said.


The duchess recently opened up about the effect online trolling had on her mental health during her time as a working member of the royal family. Speaking on the Teenager Therapy podcast in October, Markle said she was the most trolled person in the world in 2019 - something which she described as "almost unsurvivable."

Read more: Meghan Markle says she was 'the most trolled person in the entire world' in 2019

Speaking to Fast Company, Harry responded to reports that he and Markle have decided to quit social media following the online abuse.


The Sunday Times reported earlier this month that the couple - who stopped using Instagram in March 2020 - would not return to social media.

"We woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago to hear that a Rupert Murdoch newspaper said we were evidently quitting social media. That was 'news' to us, bearing in mind we have no social media to quit, nor have we for the past 10 months," Harry 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," he added.