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Prince Harry says he warned Twitter CEO about Jan. 6 Capitol riots

Queen Elizabeth II's grandson also attacked the term Megxit, often used by the press to describe his and Meghan's departure from their royal roles.
/ Source: NBC News

Prince Harry says he warned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that his platform “was allowing a coup to be staged” before the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex, said at an online conference that he hasn’t heard from Dorsey since the riot by a mob of Donald Trump supporters who tried to halt the electoral vote count and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.

“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,” said Harry, on a panel called “The Internet Lie Machine,” organized by the technology and culture magazine “Wired.” “That email was sent the day before, then it happened, and I haven’t heard from him since.”

In the course of the online panel discussion, Harry attacked both social media platforms and parts of the news media for encouraging the spread of lies online. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. The former senior royal, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, now lives in California and is serving on the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder.

“I learned from an early age that the incentives for publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives for truth,” he said Tuesday.

Harry also lambasted the term Megxit, used by the press to describe his exit from the British royal family together with his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

“Maybe people know this and maybe they don’t, but the term Megxit was or is a misogynistic term, and it was created by a troll, amplified by royal correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew into mainstream media. But it began with a troll,” Harry said.

Last month, a report by social media analytics service Bot Sentinel, which aims to fight targeted harassment, showed that 83 accounts were responsible for approximately 70% of the hate content targeting Harry and Meghan on Twitter.

During their time as senior royals, Meghan and Harry’s social media accounts posted often and changed the way the royal family portrayed themselves on social media, offering a more intimate view of their work. However, Harry said he and Meghan are no longer on social media and "until things change" that will remain the case.

They have both spoken in the past about the effect that the media has had on their mental health and in an interview with TV host James Corden in February, Harry said that Britain’s “toxic” media drove them to leave the royal family for the United States.

Harry first confirmed his relationship with Markle in November 2016, when he took the unusual step of asking the media and internet trolls to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment” against Meghan.

Harry has in the past attacked the press for its treatment of his mother, Princess Diana, and did so once again on Tuesday.

“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,” Harry said Tuesday.

The couple announced in January 2020 that they would step back from their roles as senior royals, and added that they would no longer participate in the established system of media access to the royals, known as the royal rota.

The moderator of the panel, Wired's editor-at-large Steven Levy, said that since he first tweeted last week about Harry taking part in Tuesday’s event his notifications on Twitter have “blown up.”

“Harry haters have jumped in there saying all sorts of things,” he said to Harry. “The supporters got on there, there’s a wild brawl going on there. That’s all I see when I look at Twitter now. Maybe a little glimpse into your life.”

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