Meghan, Harry Conspiracy Article Promoted by Twitter in Breach of Ad Policy

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's son Archie was the subject of a conspiracy-laden article promoted by Twitter—but the social media giant has now accepted the post breached its ad policy.

Online magazine TeddyFeed published more than 5,000 words about the three-year-old royal in June 2021 complete with references to the unfounded conspiracy theory that Meghan faked her pregnancy.

The headline read The Lies And Scandals Behind Archie The Royal Baby and Amber Melville-Brown, global head of reputation at international law firm Withers, told Newsweek: "This article is defamatory allegations, inside conspiracy theories, wrapped up as reporting."

However, the site did not stop at publishing the story as a tweet posted in December 2021 was "promoted" by the company through Twitter's advertising system, a service which brands pay to use.

The promoted Tweet read: "After the release of Archies birth certificate Meghan and Harry had no choice but to come clean, and admitted to lying to the world about their son. Here is all the information."

The post then linked to the TeddyFeed article, however, Newsweek approached Twitter to point out the text of the news story did not support the claim made in the tweet that the couple had "come clean, and admitted to lying to the world about their son."

A Twitter spokesperson told Newsweek: "The Tweet you referenced violates our Quality Policy and will no longer be promoted."

Meghan, Harry and Archie in South Africa
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 25, 2019. Online magazine 'TeddyFeed' paid to promote a Tweet which breached Twitter's ad policy. Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Twitter's Ad Policy has a section on quality that states: "Ads should not mislead customers into interacting with content by including exaggerated, sensationalized, misleading, or inaccurate language or calls to action."

TeddyFeed describes itself as "an online magazine that brings you your daily dose of pet cuteness, lifestyle tips and all things healthy living."

However, the company chose to promote its conspiracy-laden essay on Meghan and Harry's first-born son.

The article read: "Meghan and Harry have courted a lot of controversy in recent years, particularly around their son, Archie. That's because the pregnancy, birth, and everything that followed have been filled with lies and scandals."

However, the article included no explanation of the contention the Sussexes had "come clean" or "admitted to lying."

Christopher Bouzy, founder of Bot Sentinel, spent months investigating social media conspiracy theories about the Sussexes.

He told Newsweek: "The promoted TeddyFeed tweet is another example of Twitter failing to stop the spread of mis/disinformation.

"Although the tweet violated Twitter's ad policies, Twitter still allowed the tweet to be promoted and reach more users who otherwise wouldn't have seen it if Twitter didn't allow it to be promoted.

"Twitter acknowledging they got it wrong is the first step, but I would like to see safeguards put in place to prevent this from happening in the future."

Parts of TeddyFeed's article were worded in blunt, unequivocal terms but this apparent certainty appeared to collapse in the detail of the allegations.

Melville-Brown said: "The tweet excites readers to dive in and read on in the expectation that the article will explain how Meghan and Harry 'came clean' and 'admitted to lying to the world about their son' but readers will be sorely disappointed if that's what they're expecting.

"The article may include reams of rumour and column inches of conspiracy theory, but the bait of its headline doesn't land the fish of the accusation.

"If this comes within Twitter's policy on advertising content, clarity and accuracy regarding exaggerated, sensational and misleading language then yes, I'd see this as offending against that policy."

Newsweek approached representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and reached out to TeddyFeed for comment.

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