Hello! landed a major exclusive when royal sources at Kensington Palace spoke to Emily Nash, the magazine’s Royal Editor, about the online bullying aimed at the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, and how it trickles down to affect fans of each woman.
“The Palace has always monitored comments but it’s a hugely time-consuming thing,” the royal source told Hello!
“They can block certain words, but some of it is quite serious. Over the course of last year, with hundreds of thousands of comments, there were two or three that were violent threats. You can delete and report and block people, and the police have options around particular people. It’s something you have to manage because there’s no other way to control it.”
Kensington Palace officials told Hello! that they’ve been working with Instagram “in a bid to learn all the tools they can to help them tackle the abusive comments.”
The source also noted that a large portion of comments on the Palace’s social media are positive, though, “A lot of hours are being spent reviewing old material and moderating comments under posts.”
“It follows a Kate vs. Meghan narrative, and some of the worst stuff is between Kate fans and Meghan fans,” said the source.
“Arguments about who looks more appropriate, for example, that turn into personal attacks on other users. It’s creating a supercharged atmosphere, and everyone can join in, but what are the consequences of this?”
Hello! noted that they deleted 477 comments from their social media when Harry and Meghan visited Birkenhead due to the abusive nature of the messages; a further 500 comments had to be deleted when Meghan made a surprise appearance at the British Fashion Awards in December.
Hello! launched a new social media campaign to coincide with the article: #HelloToKindness. The magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Rosie Nixon, was quoted as saying, “Comments left under our posts—particularly any to do with Kate or Meghan—have become increasingly hostile—either towards the Duchesses or other users. So, we’re asking people to think before they post and say #HelloToKindness.
“We want to make social media a more positive space for everyone to enjoy.”
In November of last year, the Duke of Cambridge gave an impassioned speech about the dangers of social media and tech companies’ willingness to overlook their part in the solution for more positive online discourse.
“I am worried…that our technology companies still have a great deal to learn about the responsibilities that come with their significant power,” William said at the BBC event, mentioning that although tech companies are led by people who want to do good, there’s still a way to go on most social media platforms.
“…Our tech leaders seem to be on the back foot. Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems that they are creating.”