Meghan Markle & Prince Harry 'Working' with Civil Rights Groups to Support Facebook Boycott: Source
"Throughout their lives, they have both been driven by an innate need to fight injustice," a source tells PEOPLE
Sources confirm to PEOPLE that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been working behind the scenes to support the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign, which calls on CEOs around the world to come together to temporarily pull their advertisements from Facebook, which has been criticized for years for showing all types of political ads, even those that contain lies and misinformation.
“As we've been developing Archewell, 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,” a source tells 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,” the source adds.
Over the weekend, NAACP President Derrick Johnson praised the couple for embodying “the kind of leadership that meets the moment. The @NAACP deeply value your unwavering support to #StopHateForProfit.”
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was announced on June 17, when a number of civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times. In the ad, they pointed out that almost 100 percent of Facebook's profits are a result of advertising.
“Today, we are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July,” the ad read. “Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”
Since then, many major companies have joined the boycott, including Coca-Cola, Eileen Fisher, Honda, Levi’s, Patagonia and Verizon.
Meghan and Harry have a long history of using their platform to take a stand.
“For a long time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been working on how to move the tech industry in a more humane direction,” which includes all of their work in support of mental health, adds a source familiar with their plans.
“Throughout their lives, they have both been driven by an innate need to fight injustice,” the source continues.
The pair have “spoken constantly with leaders and advocates” following the murder of George Floyd last month, the source tells PEOPLE. “A common thread in these conversations was about how online platforms have created the conditions for hatred, bigotry, radicalism, and violence to grow and spread.”
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“The Duke and Duchess believe there is an urgent and pressing need to remodel the framework of our online public spaces,” the source continues, adding that the pair “have been working behind the scenes to urge global CEOS in solidarity with civil rights and racial justice leaders.”
“This is their organization in motion,” the source says. “They are committed to dealing with the here and now, the right now, and the long-term.”
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.
“I also stand against hate or anything that incites violence or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that content too, no matter where it comes from,” Zuckerberg said in a Livestream, according to CNBC. Earlier in the month, Facebook also announced that it will allow users the option of turning off political ads.
In response, the Stop Hate for Profit campaign issued a statement, making it clear that the “small number of small changes” would not be enough and would barely “make a dent" in the enormous problem.
“We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part,” the statement said. “But this has to end now.”
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