Meghan and Prince Harry are to lead a panel of experts discussing the dangers of social media and the creation of a safer online community on Tuesday, during a special edition of Time100 Talks. However, a few royal watchers have cast doubts on the couple’s “expertise” in this area, sparking a lively debate on Twitter.
After Time magazine announced Meghan and Harry as panel hosts, royal fan and PR expert Royal Tea wrote on Twitter: “The Sussexes are apparently ‘expert’ enough on this topic to lead an entire digital event – but how??
“They’ve done very little publicly to establish real credibility outside of paid speaking opportunities and vague mentions of ‘conversations’ with actual experts.”
Twitter user Fi said: “No qualifications to speak about, advise, or endorse literally anything, in any way shape or form.”
Eliza questioned the couple’s “credentials” to lead a panel focused on the digital world.
She wrote: “What field is Harry and Meghan in exactly? I’m curious about their credentials.
“I hope Harry and Meg forego their titles for the occasion.
“Each time they blurt out opinions under their title it is deceiving the public as if they have the royal seal of approval.”
Similarly, Twitter user Madalyn said: “I’m interested to see their credentials listed whenever they’re booked to do some event.
“‘The Duke/Duchess of Sussex’ is not a legitimate credential.
“There will always be problems when people with no training or experience are given a platform.”
Fans of the couple believe the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have gained experience on this topic not just by taking the time to speak to experts and inform themselves on the dangers of the digital space but also through personal experiences.
Alexa Dris wrote: “They live the vile and awful trolling thrown at them so yes, they are more than qualify to speak about this and use their platform to make a change.”
Earlier this month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took part in an episode of the Teenager Therapy podcast.
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Speaking about the impact the digital world can have on real life, Meghan recalled being told she was the most trolled person in 2019.
She continued: “Now, eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible.
“I was on maternity leave with the baby.
“But what was able to just be manufactured and just churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable.”
Another social media user, krcraft, said the Sussexes are reaching out to people with their virtual appearances on events and summits but have yet to put their words into action.
They said: “There are Preachers, and then there are Practitioners.
“There are people out there sermonising, but who is delivering the goods?
“There are plenty of ideas and yakkity-yak about how it should work, but there is a missing link between the preaching and the process. Expertise.”
Royal commentator Marlene Koenig argued Meghan and Harry are
currently deemed as valuable speakers.
Replying to krcraft, she said: “They have name value right now.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interest in social media and the online world first emerged during the summer.
The couple are believed to have worked behind the scenes for months to enrich their knowledge on the issue.
Meghan and Prince Harry are known to have met with experts at Stanford University in February.
During their trip, the couple conducted a “brainstorming session” with a collection of professors at the leading Californian institute.
While at the time the focus of their visit was not known, Prince Harry revealed in an op-ed published over the summer his and Meghan’s trip was focused on social media.
In his article, the Duke accused social media of stoking a crisis of hate and truth and urged investors to use their money as leverage to demand a safer online space.
Meghan also spoke about the importance of creating a more inclusive and safe online space during her two appearances on the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women recent summits.
In a video call with young Commonwealth leaders, Meghan and Harry also described the dark side of social media as a “shouting match” benefitting “all the wrong people”.
The creation of a safe digital community is also believed to be the focus of Archewell, as revealed by the Duchess during one of her virtual appearances at the Fortune events.