It marks a significant shift in their strategy as “progressive influencers”, and will be interpreted as being part of a wider rejection of what many see as the dark side of the unprecedented reach offered by social media giants.
The Duchess has described her experience of online trolling and abuse as “almost unsurvivable”.
The Sussexes have been increasingly willing to speak out about the negative aspect of much social media since leaving Britain and moving to the US, with the Duchess describing herself as being “the most trolled person in the world”.
It emerged in 2019 that she had been bombarded with more than 5,000 abusive and racist tweets in two months, was subjected to threats of violence and even accused of faking her pregnancy.
The decision to turn their back on social media came the day after Twitter permanently suspended the account of Donald Trump, the US president, for his role in inciting the mob attack on the Capitol in Washington DC.
Prior to her marriage to the Duke in 2018, the Duchess had significant social media presence as an actress, with 1.9 million followers on Instagram, 350,000 Twitter followers and 800,000 likes on her Facebook page.
The couple’s final post in Instagram last March read: “Thank you to this community – for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great! Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.”
During a virtual summit for the American publication Fortune last year, the Duchess compared social media users to “people addicted to drugs” and in an opinion piece for the American magazine Fast Company, her husband said: “The digital landscape is unwell.”
He wrote that social media had “stoked and created… a crisis of hate, a crisis of health and a crisis of truth”.
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