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Prince Harry says he warned Twitter the day before Jan. 6 Capitol riot

The prince also called “Megxit” a misogynistic term as he slammed social media companies for allowing the spread of misinformation

Prince Harry, during a Nov. 9 online panel on misinformation, said that he had warned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. (Video: Reuters)

LONDON — Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, revealed Tuesday that he warned Twitter boss Jack Dorsey in an email earlier this year that his platform was “allowing a coup to be staged”— just one day before the deadly Capitol riots unfolded in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.

The Prince was speaking as part of a panel at RE:WIRED’s 2021 conference that examined how misinformation on social media spreads lies, hatred and propaganda — a conversation which was moderated by the publication’s editor-at-large, Steven Levy.

In recent years the prince and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have frequently highlighted the toll online hatred and misinformation can take on one’s emotional health and mental well-being, and called on social media platforms to take steps to better address this.

When asked if he had ever had the opportunity to confront social media bosses directly about his concerns that their platforms propel misleading and hateful information, the prince said: “Jack and I were emailing each other prior to January 6 when I warned him his platform was allowing a coup to be staged.”

“That email was sent the day before,” he continued. “And then it happened and I haven’t heard from him since.”

Twitter declined to comment on the prince’s remarks.

Five people died during the Jan. 6 attack — when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, smashing windows, trapping lawmakers and assaulting at least 140 police officers. Their violent actions forced the evacuation of Congress as the United States — and the world — watched the scenes unfold in disbelief.

The FBI had received reports of threats of violence on far-right online forums and social media channels ahead of the Jan. 6 attack. Social media sites, including Twitter, had also been criticized for not doing enough to fight disinformation on their platforms, and for allowing President Donald Trump to post disinformation about the November elections, and continue posting messages to his followers during the riot.

Following the Capitol attack, Twitter announced it was permanently suspending Trump from the platform, adding that the former president had stoked violence through tweets which breached company rules. Other social media groups announced similar measures.

During Tuesday’s panel,

the prince also told Levy that he considered the term “Megxit” — which was coined after he and his wife announced in January 2020 they would be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family and dividing their time between Britain and North America — “misogynistic.”

Harry criticized journalists for adopting a word that “began with a troll” in mainstream media coverage of the couple. The term — a play on the word Brexit — amplified the idea that Meghan was to blame for the couple’s decision to leave.

A report released last month by Twitter analytics provider Bot Sentinel found that Meghan, , was the target of an organized hate campaign on Twitter.

After analyzing more than 114,000 tweets relating to the couple, the investigation found that 83 accounts were behind 70 percent of the most toxic anti-Sussex tweets.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was target of organized hate campaign on Twitter, report says

Most of the tweets appeared to be sent by humans, with Bot Sentinel chief executive Christopher Bouzy citing “very little evidence of bot activity.”

The couple have long experienced incessant negative coverage in the British tabloids, sparking Meghan to take legal action against the Mail on Sunday newspaper, a case she won earlier this year.

In a statement the duchess said the paper’s practices were “illegal and dehumanizing,” adding “For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness.”

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