The Royal Family has issued a plea for people to be kinder on social media.
Their new protocol, ‘Social Media Community Guidelines’, calls for users of their various social channels to behave with “kindness and respect”.
It follows a rise in abusive comments from online trolls, who often target Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.
The guidelines, issued jointly by Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace, stated: “We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities.”
Users posting comments deemed defamatory, obscene, threatening, abusive, discriminatory or advertorial will be blocked or have their comments deleted, according to the new protocol.
What’s more, it seems the Royals’ social accounts will also direct the worst offenders towards the police.
The guidelines continued: “We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law.”
The Royal Family’s official Twitter feed has around 3.87 million followers, while Kensington Palace has about 1.69 million.
It’s not entirely clear why the guidance has come now. Kate and Meghan have both been subjected to rising levels of abuse since the latter married Prince Harry in May last year.
In October 2017, it emerged that Kate Middleton was ‘bump shamed’ by cruel trolls after she stepped out for the first time while pregnant with Prince Louis, following weeks of suffering from a severe form of morning sickness.
Taking to Twitter last month, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, said it’s up to the tech giants behind the social media platforms to sort out the abuse.
She wrote: “Much of social media has become a sewer. Tech firms need to do much more to take a stand against online abuse, rather than shrugging their shoulders.”
Much of social media has become a sewer. Tech firms need to do much more to take a stand against online abuse, rather than shrugging their shoulders. My article backing #HelloToKindess https://t.co/HsQEzzaovQ
— Sarah Ferguson (@SarahTheDuchess) February 11, 2019
The Duchess was tweeting about an open letter she published with Hello! Magazine as part of the publication’s #HelloToKindness campaign, aimed at ending abusive behaviour online.
She said: “People feel licensed to say things online that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face, and that encourages others to pile in.
“It’s so ubiquitous that we’ve all become numb to what’s going on.”
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