Speaking during a panel titled “The Internet Lie Machine” on Tuesday, Prince Harry told the online audience that he knew something like the Capitol riot would happen because of the influence of social media over American citizens.
“Jack and I were emailing each other prior to January 6 where I warned him that his platform was allowing a coup to be staged,” the Duke of Sussex said during the virtual conference sponsored by Wired magazine. “That email was sent the day before, then it happened and I haven’t heard from him since.”
As first reported by the Independent, the 37-year-old prince later added, “I learned from an early age that the incentives for publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives for truth.”
Describing misinformation as a “global humanitarian crisis,” he blamed social media platforms for spreading lies.
“I felt it personally over the years, and I’m now watching it happen globally affecting everyone, not just America, literally everyone around the world,” Harry said. “I learned from a very early age that the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of the truth.”
The prince also linked January 6 to the death of Princess Diana, saying, “I know the story all too well. I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and obviously I’m determined not to lose the mother to my children to the same thing.”
Finally, Harry name-checked the media mogul who’s generally considered more conservative than the rest of the news business — Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch.
“This isn’t just a social media problem. It’s a media problem,” he said. “I’ve grown up learning that news should be sacred ground. You don’t have to be Logan Roy [the fictional ‘Succession’ character believed to be based on Murdoch] or Rupert Murdoch to understand that clickbait is the descendant of targeted advertising.”
He finished by saying that legitimate reporters address social justice issues. “Real journalists have the power and the will to tackle racism, misogyny, lies, all of it from within their own systems,” he said.
It’s not the first time the British royal has shown his disdain for the free speech the Constitution guarantees Americans. In May, he sounded off about the First Amendment:
“I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers,” Harry told the podcast. “I don’t want to start going down the First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short time. But, you can find a loophole in anything. You can capitalize or exploit what’s not said rather than uphold what is said.”
Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) spoke for many Americans when he said Harry’s comments cause him to “[double] the size of my Independence Day party.”