Prince Harry takes second job alongside Rupert Murdoch’s daughter-in-law

Victoria Ward-Wed, March 24, 2021, 9:43 AM

The Duke of Sussex has added another role to his growing job portfolio, this time sitting alongside Rupert Murdoch’s daughter-in-law on a commission aiming to combat the “avalanche of misinformation.”

Prince Harry, 36, was on Wednesday named a member of the Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder, a six-month project that will examine the “modern-day crisis of faith in key institutions.”

The announcement came just 24 hours after it emerged that he had been named “chief impact officer” with Silicon Valley mental health and life coaching company BetterUp.

But whereas that position is thought to command a salary, or otherwise equity in the £1.25billion firm, his work with the Aspen Institute, a think tank founded in 1949, is unpaid.

Among the other commissioners is Kathryn Murdoch, co-founder and president of Quadrivium, a foundation that promotes voter participation, democracy reform and climate change projects.

She is married to James Murdoch, former chairman of News of the World publisher News International, who resigned from his father’s media empire last year.

The Duke has also been announced as the 'chief impact officer' for BetterUp, a San Francisco-based mental health coaching company - BetterUp
The Duke has also been announced as the ‘chief impact officer’ for BetterUp, a San Francisco-based mental health coaching company – BetterUp

It may be considered a surprise move for the Duke, who is currently suing the owners of both the Mirror and the Sun for phone hacking, however he said information disorder was an issue that required a broad range of voices.

In May 2012, a parliamentary report found that James Murdoch “showed wilful ignorance of the extent of phone-hacking” at the News of the World and found him “guilty of an astonishing lack of curiosity” over the issue.

Prince Harry, Mrs Murdoch and the other 13 commissioners will sit alongside three co-chairs as they conduct an “intensive” six-month study on the state of American misinformation and disinformation.

It will look at everything from last year’s US election to vaccine safety and marginalised communities.

The co-chairs are Rashad Robinson, president of US civil rights group Color of Change, which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have worked with in the past, journalist Katie Couric and cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs.

The commission will begin to meet in April, holding a series of briefings with experts before publishing an interim report after 60 days, followed by a list of recommendations in the autumn.

In a statement, the Duke said: “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.

“It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue, 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 Duke is listed on the Aspen Institute’s website as a “humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate, and environmentalist,” one of three philanthropic leaders taking part in the commission, which was launched in January and is funded by Craig Newmark, the billionaire founder of Craigslist, an US-based listings website.

He has made the fight against “misinformation” a cornerstone of his new working life, taking legal action against newspapers but also campaigning for social media reform.

He and the Duchess last year contacted the leaders of major corporations, lobbying them to withdraw advertising spending from “lawless” social media companies such as Facebook.

He revealed they had set their sights on “remodelling the architecture” of social media, warning that sweeping change is needed to protect mental health and stop the spread of misinformation.

The Duke, meanwhile, was said to be “filled with energy and enthusiasm” for his job as chief impact officer, a role that had been crafted over a period of several months. Alexi Robichaux, chief executive of BetterUp, said he has been “impressed” with Prince Harry’s “incredible attitude” and said he was focusing on “helping to change the dialogue around mental health.”

He added on Wednesday: “I think there was such a natural chemistry and synergy around the insights and the contributions he can make creatively to BetterUp in ensuring that we achieve our mission.

“Bigger than commercial success, this is about global impact.”

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