Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Opened Up About the Impact of Online Trolling

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spoke about the impact of online trolling during a video call organized by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.

queen's commonwealth trust
(Image credit: Chris Jackson)
  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (opens in new tab) spoke about the impact of online trolling during a video call organized by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.
  • "You can either train people to be cruel, or you can train people to be kind," Meghan said.
  • The Sussexes spoke to young people who created their own online platforms to enact positive change.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (opens in new tab) opened up about online trolling during a recent video call (opens in new tab) with young leaders from the Queen's Commonwealth Trust network. Speaking to four people who created their own online networks to create positive change, Meghan and Harry spoke candidly about the destructive impact some social media platforms can have. "When you look at what these platforms are capable of with that reach, and what that propels in terms of trolling… You can either train people to be cruel, or you can train people to be kind," Meghan said. "It’s really that simple."

The Sussexes spoke to four digital changemakers: Vee Kativhu, a recent Oxford graduate who founded a YouTube channel and the Empowered by Vee conference to increase access to higher education for those from marginalized communities; Brighton Kaoma, a social entrepreneur who established the Agents of Change Foundation to train young journalists; Rosie Thomas, who launched the youth-led PROJECT ROCKIT movement to combat hate, prejudice and bullying; and Hunter Johnson, CEO of young men's mental health charity The Man Cave.

Speaking to the group, Meghan said, "Everyone’s mental and emotional wellbeing are perhaps more fragile than ever before, certainly with COVID and our dependability on devices right now in the absence of human interaction. People are going online more than ever before to feel community."

Kativhu said, "I created my community online because I wanted young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to know that you’re seen, you’re heard, you’re talented, you’re amazing, and wherever your dream goal or university is, you can go there and do well—you don’t have to alter yourself." Johnson, meanwhile, spoke about working to provide young men with positive role models who aren't afraid to be vulnerable, explaining, "They don’t lose any of their masculinity doing that, but they do gain more of their humanity."

Kaoma addressed the risk of sharing fake news online, as well as the importance of understanding your audience, saying, "You can never change the world just by using single tweets as a source of information…Realize that when you post online, you post to the world." Thomas discussed our shared responsibility to combat online hate, commenting, "If we only blame tech platforms we’re actually removing the ability as humans to make a difference."

Prince Harry concluded that courage was essential to create a better digital landscape. "It takes a huge amount of courage for you to set up communities like you have, but also for other people to stand up to hate," he said.

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Emily Dixon
Emily Dixon

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.