New social media guidelines to combat online abuse
On Monday, the palace released a statement explaining that online abuse will no longer be tolerated and that any social media user leaving offensive or abusive comments on royal accounts will be blocked and may be reported to police.
“We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities,” the statement reads.
“In order to help create this safe environment we have set out some guidelines which apply to any engagement with us or other members of the community on any of our social media channels.”
The palace’s announcement comes as social media abuse directed at the royal family has intensified in recent months, with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, often the targets of mistreatment.
Under the new guidelines, which were also shared in a post on the official social media accounts of the royal family, including the Kensington Palace and Clarence House accounts, comments must not include “spam, be defamatory of any person, deceive others, be obscene, offensive, abusive, hateful, inflammatory or promote sexually explicit material or violence”.
Users’ comments must also refrain from promoting “discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age” nor include information that is “off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible or contain any advertising or promote any services”.
If comments violate the guidelines, the royal family said it reserves the right to “hide or delete” them in addition to taking further steps against the account in question to prevent future abuse.
In January, Hello! magazine attempted to quell the abusive comments directed at the royal family with an online campaign, #HelloToKindness.
According to Emily Nash, the royal editor at Hello!, the campaign was launched in response to widespread online abuse, especially directed at Kate and Meghan.
“People feel empowered to be aggressive and abusive to each other from behind the safety of their keyboard,” Nash told CNN. “It was particularly surrounding anything to do with Kate and Meghan.”