Royal family’s social media to block trolls and report to police

The royal family’s social media accounts will block trolls who post offensive or abusive messages on official royal channels and may even report them to the police.

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Picture: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace have published new guidelines for members of the public interacting with them on social media.

The rules, which were listed on the royal family’s website, call 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”.

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They also request comments do not “promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age”.

The guidelines come just weeks after it emerged that Kensington Palace staff were spending hours each week moderating online abuse aimed at the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.

Some of the worst, hate-filled personal abuse is said to be between rival fans of Kate and pregnant former Suits star Meghan, who married into the Windsors less than a year ago.

The royal family’s website said the guidelines were introduced to try to maintain a safe environment on channels run by the three households, and it called for users to show “courtesy, kindness and respect”.

“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,” it said.

“We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities.”

In a warning to those who flout the guidelines, the royal site said, as well as users being blocked, the police may be contacted in some cases.

“We reserve the right to determine, at our discretion, whether contributions to our social media channels breach our guidelines,” it said.

“We reserve the right to hide or delete comments made on our channels, as well as block users who do not follow these guidelines.

“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.”

The royal family has 3.8 million followers on Twitter, 4.5m on Instagram, and its Facebook page has 4.8m likes.

Clarence House has 812,000 followers on Twitter and 624,000 on Instagram.

The Cambridges and the Sussexes’ official account @KensingtonRoyal has nearly 1.7m followers on Twitter and 7.1m on Instagram.

Meghan closed down her personal accounts and lifestyle website ahead of her wedding to Harry.

The Duke of Cambridge has been a prominent campaigner against cyber-bulling, and has previously accused social media giants of being “on the back foot” when it comes to fighting issues like online bullying, fake news, and hate speech.

He convened a new industry-led taskforce to develop a shared response to the online bullying of young people.