The Royal Family are currently rowing with YouTube over a viral video of Prince William that they want taken down. In the clip – which was filmed in January 2021 but uploaded earlier this week – Prince William is seen confronting the person behind the camera, who he accuses of surreptitiously filming his family as they enjoy a private bike ride near their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk.
Since the ordeal that his mother, the late Princess Diana, endured with the British paparazzi, the Duke of Cambridge has fought for years to ensure the privacy of his family, particularly his three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
But the Royal Family claims that privacy was breached when the video was uploaded to YouTube, quickly racking up over 200k views on Monday alone, with clips later making the rounds on TikTok as well. In the video, Prince William is seen confronting the person filming him as Kate Middleton and their children wait off camera. He claims the person filming has purposely sought the family out during their private time.
Since the video emerged, Kensington Palace has argued it is a breach of the family's privacy and it's believed that staff have attempted to have the video removed from the internet. Reports also say that the family's lawyers contacted the person who filmed the clip shortly after the incident.
But, the Royal Family may be facing an uphill battle, as their right to privacy is increasingly challenged by social media, where rules followed by the traditional media do not apply. In fact, the British print media does not publish photos or videos of the royals in private circumstances, especially when it comes to the children – something which Prince William has spent years securing, instead agreeing to publicly share a small number of photos of his children each year to ensure their privacy is respected the rest of the time.
The same can't be said for social media though, where photos of the Cambridge kids are regularly posted and later sold off to international publications who work under different laws and press watchdogs. For that reason, the future King has spoken out against how social media platforms handle private images, as well as their approach to fake news.
"I am very concerned though that on every challenge they face – fake news, extremism, polarisation, hate speech, trolling, mental health, privacy, and bullying – our tech leaders seem to be on the back foot," he said in 2018.
"Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems that they are creating."
Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to YouTube for comment.
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