The Duke of Cambridge is planning to reach out to the family of 14-year-old Molly Russell, who took her own life after viewing disturbing material onl
The Duke of Cambridge is planning to reach out to the family of 14-year-old Molly Russell, who took her own life after viewing disturbing material online, it is understood.
Prince William is expected to contact the teenager’s relatives by letter this week as part of his work around cyber-bullying.
Prince William will pen a letter to the family of Molly Russell (left) as part of his work around cyberbullying. The Duke has previously criticised social media companies for the being ‘on the back foot’ in dealing with abuse online in a speech at the BBC (right)
Earlier this month, a pre-inquest review hearing heard police say were confident they could access Molly’s electronic devices to view the internet history data.
The duke has previously spoken out about social media companies and their responsibilities to stop the spread of harmful material online.
In a speech at BBC Broadcasting House in London in November, he accused tech giants of ‘being on the back foot’ when tackling issues such as cyber bullying, fake news and hate speech.
‘I had doubts being cast about the scale of the problem.
‘I was told companies were already doing plenty, and just needed more credit for it.
‘I saw denials about the ages of young children who are using some of our most popular platforms.’
The Prince accused tech giants of ‘being on the back foot’ when tackling issues such as cyber bullying, fake news and hate speech
There was also a thinly-veiled criticism of Facebook and Instagram’s Mark Zuckerberg, two platforms it is believed Molly used.
‘The journey from a student dormitory to the leaders of some of the most valuable companies on earth has been so fast, they may struggle to understand that their incentives have changed,’ said the Prince.
‘The noise of shareholders, bottom lines and profits are distracting them from the values that made them so successful in the first place.’
The Duke ended with a plea to social media giants to ‘do the right thing’ and take on board concerns from users as well as parents to give child better protections online.
‘I am very concerned though that on every challenge they face, fake news, extremist, hate speech, trolling, mental health and bullying, our tech leaders seem to be on the back foot.
‘You can reject the false choice of profits over values, you can choose to do good and be successful.
‘You can work in the interests of children and parent who use your products, and still make your shareholders happy.’
The Royal Family, Clarence House and Kensington Palace have also introduced their own ‘social media guidelines’ after the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex faced abuse online.
The Royal Family, Clarence House and Kensington Palace have all introduced new social media guidelines after members of the Royals suffered abuse online