In a rare foray into debunking fake news about the couple, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website PolitiFact has disproved the rumor that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have divorced.
After receiving more than 445,000 views on Facebook, the video titled “MEDIA SHOCK!” was investigated by PolitiFact. The signing of the divorce papers by Harry and Meghan comes after both the prince and Meghan have discussed the impact of false social media posting about them on their mental health.
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The Poynter Institute, which oversees the website’s fact-checking operations, states “independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting, and clear writing,” while adding that “the reason we publish is to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy.”
Vicious Harry and Meghan Divorce Report Crushed
A video purporting to show divorce papers and Harry complaining about feeling “tightly controlled by Meghan” went viral after their trip to the UK for the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The article is highly critical of the duchess, and many of the claims are attributed to anonymous sources with the following disclaimer: “the signing of the divorce papers of Harry and Meghan is just a rumor in the media. The royal couple has yet to confirm.”
The following is PolitiFact’s analysis of the video and its claims:
“A video in the Facebook post claims to offer up juicy details, such as that Harry is back in England while Meghan stays in the United States with the couple’s two children, but it does not provide any credible evidence that any of this is actually true.”
A 2021 Page Six article titled “Meghan Markle, Prince Harry could be headed for divorce: Samantha Markle” is also mentioned on the site.
Samantha, Meghan’s half-sister, told TMZ in an interview that, “I see [Harry and Meghan’s marriage] ending in divorce unless they get extensive counseling.”
Markle added that Harry was “possibly already questioning it.” There was “nothing to corroborate this claim,” however, according to PolitiFact.
Claims that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, divorced are baseless, reads the final verdict from the fact-checker on the Sussex divorce rumors. The fact that PolitiFact is investigating comments made on social media about Harry and Meghan has attracted a lot of attention.
For example, social media analytics platform Bot Sentinel founder Christopher Bouzy, who has tracked a coordinated hate campaign against Meghan on Twitter and YouTube said, “PolitiFact taking notice and fact-checking the false divorce claim is a positive step forward in fighting mis/disinformation. Still, it illustrates how easily falsehoods spread online and why organizations like PolitiFact are essential to mitigating the spread of falsehoods.”
Royal Family LIVE: Vicious Harry and Meghan divorce report crushed after fan frenzy https://t.co/VXkRy1z90f
— Lynn (@Lynn12019970) June 23, 2022
“During the Jubilee, we observed inauthentic accounts spreading conspiracy theories about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wearing microphones for a Netflix production. However, the claim was so ridiculous it got little traction outside a small group of anti-Sussex trolls.”
According to a report published by Bouzy’s Bot Sentinel in 2022, three YouTube channels had made as much as $494,729 off of 70+ million views dedicated to mocking Meghan.
While neither Meghan nor Harry have directly addressed this campaign, they have discussed the detrimental effects the online backlash has had on their lives.
In 2020, Meghan told The Teenager Therapy podcast: “I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female…it’s almost unsurvivable, that’s so big, you can’t think of what that feels like, because I don’t care if you’re 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”
During Fortune’s Most Powerful Next Gen Summit, the royal stated that she had decided to leave social media due to the negativity it generated.
She said: “For my own self-preservation, I have not been on social media for a very long time … I’ve made a personal choice to not have an account, so I don’t know what’s out there, and many ways that are helpful for me.”
After the riot in the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, Harry also spoke out, telling the online publication The Fast Company that social media executives are “running out of time” to fix things.
“We have seen time and again what happens when the real-world cost of misinformation is disregarded,” he said.
“There is no way to downplay this. There was a literal attack on democracy in the United States, organized on social media, which is an issue of violent extremism.”
After announcing in March 2020 that they would no longer be full-time working royals, Harry and Meghan both disappeared from social media.
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