Duke and Duchess of Sussex convene session on digital world


This screengrab released by Time shows Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, hosting a special Time100 talk Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, focusing on the digital world. They said the idea is to help make online communities safer and free of misinformation. (Time via AP)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Creating online communities free of danger and misinformation is crucial in building a better world, the Duchess of Sussex told an online audience Tuesday during a special Time100 Talks episode she curated with her husband, Prince Harry.

“This isn’t just a tech problem. This isn’t solely a mental health or emotional well-being problem. This is a human problem. And what’s happening to all of us online is affecting us deeply offline,” Meghan said in opening the two-hour session that gathered academics, experts in misinformation, advocates for teens and the marginalized, journalists and others.

Since the start of 2020, after the two left the U.K., they’ve been spending quality time with son Archie at their California home and also educating themselves on issues swirling in the digital space. They’ve made new friends among those working to make that space better, both said.

“What our job is, especially throughout these conversations, is to get people to listen to the experts and for them to explain how what’s happening in the online world is affecting the world,” Harry said. “It is not restricted to certain platforms or certain social media conversations. This is a global crisis, a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation and a global health crisis.”

He called the media’s role vital in informing and changing the world overall but said: “There’s a huge amount of trust that we all put into media and digital platforms that sometimes is undermined.”

Meghan endured a slew of negative headlines in Britain after she married the prince. The two have fought back over alleged phone hacking, the publication of unauthorized photos of their son and the disclosure of a handwritten letter the duchess wrote to her estranged father.

Among those who participated in their Time100 session, “Engineering a Better World,” was Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, investor and husband of tennis great Serena Williams. He recently resigned from the Reddit board and asked to be replaced by a Black candidate.

The tech giant has announced his spot will go to Michael Seibel, who co-founded Justin.tv/Twitch. Ohanian said he was inspired to step down by his 3-year-old daughter, Olympia, who is of mixed race.

“Given that I’m still getting hate mail about it, I knew I made the right choice because sadly, you know, we’re at a place in this country where there is still a lot of work to be done,” he told Meghan. “I knew that I had a responsibility to be able to answer her when she asks me in 10 years, when she’s a snarky teenager, what I did to help be a part of making things better for her.”

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