As the British royal family’s younger members have brought it into the digital age, its social media accounts have gained a global following of millions. Its Twitter account has 3.9 million followers, while Kensington Palace has 1.7 million and Clarence House 813,000. The royal family’s official Instagram account has 4.5 million followers.
But while the royal family’s social media channels are hugely successful, they have, like many such online platforms, also been a target for abuse, including outrageous accusations that Meghan Markle faked her pregnancy as well as more serious and violent racist and sexist comments.
On Monday, the family warned that it will take action against social media trolls who post inappropriate comments about members of the royal family. For the very first time since launching its social media channels on Instagram and Twitter, the Palace has issued a new set of guidelines warning that they will block users who do not adhere to them.
The rules, published on the royal family’s official website today, state that the Palace reserves the right to delete abusive comments and block abusive individuals. The most serious offenders will also be reported to the police. Aides have not said why they have decided to release the guidelines now, but the move comes after abuse targeted at the Duchesses of Cambridge and Suffolk has appeared online.
Courtiers have been forced to moderate comments on the royal family’s Instagram and Twitter pages about the two women that have been sexist, racist, and even violent. It is the first time courtiers have taken steps to protect the royal family’s social media platforms by issuing what is essentially a code of conduct.
The Palace has asked for comments not to “contain spam, be defamatory of any person, deceive others, be obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, hateful, inflammatory or promote sexually explicit material or violence” or “promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.”
According to the statement, the guidelines are in place “to help create a safe environment on all social media channels run by The Royal Family, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace. The aim of our social media channels is to create an environment where our community can engage safely in debate and is free to make comments, questions and suggestions. We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media.”