Voicing concern about an “avalanche of misinformation” in the digital world, Prince Harry is joining the Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder as a commissioner.
Harry, 14 other commissioners and three co-chairs will conduct a six-month study on the state of American misinformation and disinformation.
Journalist Katie Couric, Color of Change president Rashad Robinson and Chris Krebs, the former director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, are the co-chairs.
“This information crisis undermines confidence in our democratic institutions and strikes right at the foundation of society,” Krebs said in a statement.
That’s what Aspen, a leading nonprofit, wants to examine. The institute announced its Commission on Information Disorder in January with a mandate to develop “actionable public-private responses.”
The commission will begin to meet in April and will hold a series of briefings with outside experts.
Aspen’s plan calls for an interim report after about 60 days “that surveys and frames the information disorder problem, and prioritizes the most critical and urgent issues,” according to the institute, and then a list of actionable solutions and recommendations in the fall.
The list of commissioners, released Wednesday morning, includes prominent figures like former Texas congressman Will Hurd; Sue Gordon, the former principal deputy director of national intelligence; and Kathryn Murdoch, the co-founder and president of Quadrivium and daughter-in-law of Rupert.
But surely the most notable name is Prince Harry, who has been in the public eye in recent weeks thanks to his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sat down with Winfrey and explained their decision to step back from senior roles in the British royal family and levelled criticism of the British press.
His own personal experiences with the media — particularly with lies and nonsense spread about his own life — are likely to inform his contributions to the commission.
“As I’ve said, the experience of today’s digital world has us inundated with an avalanche of misinformation, affecting our ability as individuals as well as societies to think clearly and truly understand the world we live in,” the Duke of Sussex said in a statement.
“It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue,” he said, “and as such, it demands a multi-stakeholder response from advocacy voices, members of the media, academic researchers, and both government and civil society leaders. I’m eager to join this new Aspen commission and look forward to working on a solution-oriented approach to the information disorder crisis.”
The institute’s press release on Wednesday identified Prince Harry as one of three philanthropic leaders that will be a part of the project. The other two are Murdoch — who is married to Rupert Murdoch’s son James — and Marla Blow, incoming president of the Skoll Foundation.
One week after the Winfrey interview, Harry and Meghan announced several donations by their Archewell Foundation, including to news media startups.
And on Tuesday, Harry announced a new job, as a tech exec, working for the Silicon Valley startup BetterUp as its chief impact officer.
His role with the Aspen commission is part-time. It will involve regular meetings, according to the institute. The commission is funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
Krebs said in his statement that the commission is striving to have a “diversity of viewpoints” and roles, “from elected officials and civic leaders to academic researchers and corporate executives.”