How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Making Their Mark in the Facebook Boycott Campaign
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are actively contacting business leaders to urge companies to withdraw advertising from the tech giant
The couple are contacting companies directly and asking them to join those who are pulling their ad dollars from Facebook, insiders say.
The New York Times said on Wednesday that they "called C.E.O.s at some of Facebook’s biggest ad buyers and implored them to stop their ad purchases,” while the U.K.'s The Times quoted Professor Jim Steyer — head of Common Sense Media. which promotes safe technology for children — as saying the couple approached them.
"They wrote saying: 'Which companies can we help target? They jumped on board," Steyer, who teaches civil rights and civil liberties at Stanford University, added.
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was announced on June 17, when a number of civil rights groups took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times asking for brands to pull their advertising from the social media site after condemning how Facebook allowed posts that incited violence on protesters fighting for racial justice. (On Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be changing its policies in order to prohibit hate speech from appearing in its ads.)
Sources close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have reiterated to PEOPLE that they want to “do things privately” in the campaign, and point out they have been actively talking with groups like the NAACP and Color for Change for several months as they build their philanthropy organization Archewell.
On Sunday, a source close to the couple said, "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."
The development came as Harry, 35, made a passionate speech in which he acknowledged that his generation and those before had not done enough for racial injustice. "I too am sorry – sorry that we haven’t got the world to the place you that you deserve it to be. Institutional racism has no place in our societies. Yet it is still endemic,” he told the young people receiving Diana Awards in the name of his late mother."
"Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you," he added.
Invoking his late mother Princess Diana (who would have been 59 today), Harry saidd, "Like many of you she didn't take the easy route or the popular one or the comfortable one. But she stood for something and she stood up for people who need it."
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Representatives for the couple had no comment to PEOPLE.