Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are making the most out of quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. The couple appeared on a special edition of TIME100 Talks on Tuesday, where they talked with experts and leaders about creating a more trustworthy and safe digital space, and also talked about what they’ve been up to amid such a trying time.
TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal kicked off the two-hour conversation, and asked Meghan and Harry how they were doing. Meghan shared that she and Harry have been cherishing spending time with their 1-year-old son, Archie.
“All things considered, everyone is grappling with a different version of the same thing,” she said. “For us, we’re trying to embrace all of the quality time we get with our son right now and to not miss a single moment of his growth and development, which has been really special.”
Harry added, “We have the opportunity to spend more time as a family than we would otherwise.”
Harry then noted the importance of checking on how others are doing.
“I think when people ask, ‘How are you?’ I sense, you know, it’s a case of ‘Really, how are you?’ Before this year, I think everyone sort of throws that term around and everyone’s satisfied with a ‘Yeah, I’m good. I’m fine, thanks.’ And then it’s moving on to something else,” he said. “But I think you’re quite right. This year, more so than ever, it really is a question of ‘No, no, no. Actually, how are you?'”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk about how they are doing during the pandemic and the importance of checking in on one another.
“When people ask, ‘how are you?’ I sense it’s a case of, ‘really, how are you?’” Prince Harry says #TIME100Talkspic.twitter.com/TLG8BzSohU
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on how they prioritize advocacy work on online platforms #TIME100Talkspic.twitter.com/3jg2Mi76vz
The topic of the TIME100Talks on Tuesday was “Engineering a Better World,” and both Meghan and Harry had conversations with leaders in technology and journalism. Meghan spoke with her good friend Serena Williams’ husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, about the future of the tech industry and she also noted that both are raising biracial children. Ohanian talked about his big decision in June to resign from Reddit’s board for a person of color, and explained that he wants to be able to answer his 3-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia, if she asks him in the future about what he did to make things better for her. Ohanian said that more diversity is “going to mean a better outcome for all of us,” and is “long overdue.”
In a conversation with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, @alexisohanian discusses how online communities can breed hate groups #TIME100Talkshttps://t.co/hYtY83oJHrpic.twitter.com/l9tAsxvKs3
In another segment, both Harry and Meghan spoke to Tristan Harris, co-founder & president of the Center for Humane Technology (and who recently appeared on the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma), and Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble — the author of Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism — on the impact that algorithms have on the information people read and how it can shape policy. Later, Harry had a solo conversation with both Maria Ressa, a Filipino journalist and the co-founder and CEO of the media organization Rappler (who made headlines when she was convicted by a court in Manila for “cyberlibel”) and Renée DiResta — the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies — about combating disinformation.
Rappler CEO and Executive Editor @mariaressa discusses journalism during the age of online disinformation in a conversation with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Renee DiResta (@noUpside), Stanford Internet Observatory Technical Research Manager #TIME100Talkspic.twitter.com/KVF9Yxz8xU
Meghan said she and Harry have been on a journey since January to learn about the topics that are so important to them.
“It can feel really overwhelming to try to understand all the nuance of what happens online,” she said. “It is all-encompassing and it affects us at a multi-faceted level. And so we started with professors and experts in the field, with defectors from some of the largest platforms, neurologists—people to really help us view it through a holistic approach. And in that there have been relationships, and now friendships, that we have formed with a lot of these people who have a shared goal of wanting to make this space healthier and better for all of us.”
“This isn’t just a tech problem,” she added. “This isn’t solely a mental health or emotional wellbeing problem. This is a human problem. And what’s happening to all of us online is affecting us deeply offline.”
Meanwhile, Harry noted, “What is happening in the online world is affecting the world. It is not restricted to certain platforms or certain social media conversations or groups. This is a global crisis — a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation, and a global health crisis.”
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