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Prince Harry says social media companies are creating a ‘crisis of hate’

In a recent essay for Fast Company, the Duke of Sussex wrote that he is particularly concerned about the effects that social media might have on children, comparing it to the dangers of lead poisoning in the 1970s.

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In this Dec. 1, 2017 file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle arrive at Nottingham Academy in Nottingham, England.

In this Dec. 1, 2017 file photo, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at Nottingham Academy in Nottingham, England. Prince Harry recently wrote an essay about a “crisis of hate” in social media and particularly the effects that it could have on children.

Frank Augstein, Associated Press

Prince Harry is speaking out about the dangers he sees in social media, writing in a recent essay for Fast Company that “the digital landscape is unwell,” according to USA Today.

The Duke of Sussex and his wife, Meghan Markle, have begun calling on different business leaders in recent weeks to make a change and to reconsider the roles they play in funding social media companies, according to ABC News.

In the essay published on Thursday, Prince Harry wrote that social media platforms have “contributed to, stoked and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health and a crisis of truth.”

Harry wrote that his role as a father makes the social media landscape “especially concerning” to him, and compared social media to the dangers of lead exposure to children in the 1970s.

“We knew something was harmful to the health of our children, so we made the necessary changes to keep them safe, healthy and well,” Harry wrote about lead exposure, noting that research on the effects of social media on young people are still ongoing.

However, Harry said he was also concerned about the spread of disinformation online, as a growing number of people around the world rely on social media for information.

“One could argue that access to accurate information is more important now than any other time in modern history,” Harry wrote. “And yet, the very places that allow disinformation to spread seem to throw their arms up when asked to take responsibility and find solutions.”

He called for companies — particularly advertisers — to advocate for change, encouraging them to “use their leverage, including through their advertising dollars, to demand change from the very places that give a safe haven and vehicle of propagation to hate and division.”

Prince Harry’s essay comes as social media and tech companies are coming under more severe scrutiny, and companies like Facebook have begun taking stronger stances on misinformation on their platforms, as the Deseret News has previously reported.

Online hate speech is an issue Harry and Meghan will continue to focus on, a source close to the royal couple told People magazine.

“One of the areas The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been keen to address is online hate speech, and we’ve been working with civil rights and racial justice groups on it,” the source said, according to People.

“Over the past few weeks, in particular, this issue has become even more vital and they have been working to encourage global CEOs to stand in solidarity with a coalition of civil and racial justice groups like the NAACP, Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, which are calling for structural changes to our online world.”