Obama fires social media shot at Donald Trump in Prince Harry interview

Prince Harry interviewing former US president Barack Obama, Picture: Getty Images
Prince Harry interviewing former US president Barack Obama, Picture: Getty Images
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Former US president Barack Obama has warned against using social media in a divisive way during an interview with Prince Harry.

Mr Obama did not mention his successor in the White House by name, but many will view the comments as a thinly veiled rebuke aimed at Donald Trump.

The former president said there was a danger of people becoming stuck in their biases due to social media use.

The warning was delivered while he was being questioned by Prince Harry as part of the royal’s guest editorship of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme.

Mr Obama said: “The question, I think, really has to do with, how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanisation of our society, but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground?

“And I’m not sure government can legislate that, but what I do believe is that all of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet. One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”

President Trump has drawn widespread criticism for the way he uses Twitter to attack opponents and condemn what he brands “fake news”. His decision to share a series of Islamophobic tweets from far-right extremist group Britain First last month sparked a global backlash.

Harry joked that he had yet to decide if Mr Obama would be invited to his wedding. The interview took place following a report claiming government sources had said that asking the statesman would infuriate Mr Trump.

Harry was quizzed about his wedding guest list during his stint as Today editor, but remained tight-lipped about whether Mr Obama would receive an invitation.

Harry will marry his fiance Meghan Markle on 19 May in a wedding service held at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.

In a separate interview, world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua offered to be Harry’s best man.

Harry used his role as editor to highlight issues such as the sacrifice made by armed forces stationed abroad over Christmas, youth crime and the public’s relationship with charities.

He interviewed his father the Prince of Wales, who discussed his life-long campaign to highlight the threat to the environment.