Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry went public with plans to launch Archwell this spring after making a dramatic exit from their formal duties with the British Royal Family and moving to California with ample opportunity to chart their own path. Details on what exactly the nonprofit would focus on have been scarce.
But during a brief pre-taped discussion for Fortune magazine’s annual Most Powerful Women Summit, Markle spoke about a desire to work on some level of reform for the digital media landscape, which, as she noted, has become overrun with misinformation.
Speaking of the many issues she and Prince Harry are interested in aiding, from veterans affairs to the environment to women’s rights, Markle said issues like misinformation and hate speech online can often stand in the way of that work.
“If you continue to hit this brick wall of, at the moment, what is happening in the digital and online space, then in many ways it’s like taking two steps forward and five steps backward,” Markel said. “So part of our focus with Archwell is to just ensure that we are helping foster healthy positive communities, online and off, for our collective well-being.”
She did not relay any specifics of how the nonprofit will go about doing that, but Markle said that a couple of weeks ago she “convened a small group of people” to discuss the issue.
“I think we can all see it and feel it, whether we are directly involved in the online world or not…we know it’s not sustainable the way that it is.”
Asked for specific things she is doing or that others can do to help make the “online world” a better place, Markle pointed to misinformation around the upcoming U.S. presidential election, and said when someone identifies a false story online, they should report it and then discuss it openly.
“We have got to all put our stock in something that is true and we all need to have reliable media resources that are telling us the truth,” she said. “Without that I don’t know where it leaves us.”
She also publicly supports the Stop Hate for Profit campaign against Facebook, in which organizers got thousands of advertisers to stop advertising on the platform for the months of June, and more recently had a host of celebrities pause their Facebook and Instagram accounts to bring attention to Facebook’s lax policies on hate speech. Markle admitted she’s not looking to “take down Facebook” but still isn’t sure that a limited boycott is a recipe for lasting change online.
“Most of the advertising executives and cmo’s I had spoken to said a month is not enough, and some have taken it through the end of the year,” Markle said. “I think maybe that is the takeaway, that we can’t have just that slap on the wrist. If we’re looking for long-term solutions, what are the actions that we can take now that are going to lay that future foundation. And that doesn’t happen in a month.”