In Brief

Palace issues social media rules to tackle ‘Meghan vs. Kate’ trolls

‘Rare intervention’ follows spike in abuse linked to war of words between online partisans

Social media trolls who direct abuse at members of the royal family could face police action, according to new social media guidelines issued by palace officials.

The rules, unveiled by palace officials today, will apply to accounts run by Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace on channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

In what the London Evening Standard calls a “rare intervention” by senior courtiers, commenters are reminded to show “courtesy, kindness and respect” to other users, in order to create a “safe environment”.

“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,” the palaces said.

The guidelines warn against posting spam, defamation, bigoted language and any material deemed “obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, hateful [or] inflammatory”, warning that palace moderators will hide or delete content that breaches the rules, and reserve the right to block users who post it.

“We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law,” they said.

The move “follows revelations last month of high levels of vitriol and abuse, especially aimed at the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex”, notes The Guardian.

The Duchess of Sussex, who is mixed race, has been “subjected to racist comments on top of the sexist and offensive words aimed at both her and the Duchess of Cambridge”, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Media speculation of a feud between the pair has had a knock-on effect on social media, where partisans of the two women frequently clash in an online war of words.

In fact, the majority of the abuse is linked to “arguments between rival fans”, says the Guardian, with palace social media staff spending thousands of hours deleting hateful exchanges.

Many Twitter users welcomed the move, although some expressed disappointment that such intervention had been necessary.

Others said that the roots of the problem lay beyond social media, blaming the press for fuelling trolls with irresponsible reports capitalising on rumours of a feud:

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