Meghan boldly compares Instagram to drugs
Meghan Markle has compared avid social media users to drug addicts in her latest virtual summit appearance.
The 39-year-old Duchess of Sussex spoke at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Next Gen Virtual Summit on Tuesday, touching on the pitfalls of social media addiction.
Addressing ticket holders to the virtual event - who paid $1750 to hear the Duchess speak - Meghan mused that social media had the "same capacity" for causing addiction as drugs do.
It comes days after she said she was the "most trolled person in the world" last year.
"There are very few things in this world where you call the person who's engaging with it 'a user'," Meghan pointed out when asked about maintaining a healthy level on online engagement.
"People who are addicted to drugs are called users and people who are on social media are called users.
"There is something algorithmically that is in there that is creating this obsession that I think is very unhealthy for a lot of people."
The mother-of-one went on: "I have a lot of concerns for people that have become obsessed with it and it is so much a part of our daily culture for so many people that it is an addiction."
Meghan - who was once a keen Instagram user herself while running her lifestyle blog The Tig - told Fortune associate editor Emma Hinchliffe that she has actively avoided social media over the past few years.
“Something, algorithmically, is creating this obsession.”— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) October 13, 2020
Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex warns against the pitfalls of social media addiction during a conversation at the #FortuneMPW Next Gen Summit. https://t.co/hhyvMGAoyf pic.twitter.com/eKpB0U38AW
When the former actress closed down her social media accounts in 2018 after announcing her engagement to Prince Harry - she had amassed 1.9 million followers on Instagram. Her official Facebook and Twitter pages were both closed at the same time.
According to this year's explosive book about the couple's exit from the royal family, Finding Freedom, she and Prince Harry even connected over Instagram in the early days of their romance via Harry's fake account.
Speaking on Tuesday, Meghan said she has stayed away from social media "for her own self preservation".
She went on to clarify that she did not manage the Sussex Royal account before she and Harry stepped down at senior royals, revealing it was handled instead by a special team.
"We had (an Instagram account) through the institution and our office that was in the UK. But that wasn't managed by us that was a whole team," Meghan said.
"I have made a personal choice to not have any account, so I don't know what's out there and in many ways that's helpful for me."
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Meghan's latest speech comes days after she spoke about being the "most trolled person in the entire world in 2019" while recording a podcast in honour of World Mental Health Day.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Californian high school students on their Teenager Therapy podcast to mark Mental Health Day last week - and made a passionate plea for anyone suffering to speak out.
"Now eight months of that I wasn't even visible," Meghan said during the interview, which was released on Sunday.
"I was on maternity leave or with a baby. But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out. It's almost unsurvivable."
Prince Harry also hit out at online trolls who "hide behind usernames", adding, "There are things that are said digitally that nobody would say in person."
The couple's recent video appearances haven't been without controversy.
At the end of September, they were slammed when they spoke out about the upcoming US election in a video for Time 100.
During the address, Harry urged people to "reject hate speech", while Meghan referred to the presidential race as "the most important election of our lifetime".
While the couple did not voice their support for one candidate in particular, their words were seen as anti-Trump - including by the US President himself.
It was a first for anyone in the royal family - who traditionally avoid discussing politics in the public eye.
Meghan has since hit out at criticism over her political views, declaring that nothing she has said has been controversial, rather it's "people's interpretations of it" that has ended up being inflammatory.
Originally published as Meghan boldly compares Instagram to drugs