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Wednesday
Dec272017

Obama says social media is 'corroding social discourse' in interview with Prince Harry

Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation(NEW YORK) -- Former President Barack Obama was interviewed for the first time since leaving office last January by Prince Harry in an interview that aired this morning on BBC’s Radio 4.

The two discussed social media, with Obama warning that caution is necessary.

“The former president also said people in a position of power should exercise care when posting messages and said he is concerned that social media is “corroding civil discourse."

Obama did not mention by name President Donald Trump, who uses Twitter frequently.

“All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the Internet," Obama said. "One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases."

The wide-ranging interview on a multitude of topics was conducted in September at Harry's Invictus Games but was not released until today, when Harry served as the guest editor of the BBC’s flagship morning program.

Obama reflected on his last days in office and his emotions when he left the presidency. He shared that despite feeling satisfied it was “mixed with all the work that was still undone.”

“Concerns about how the country moves forward but, you know, overall there was serenity there," he added.

Harry focused his show on themes that were central to his charitable work: Empowering youth, providing resources, education and training for service members who have departed the military, and mental health awareness.

Those are all issues the former president and first lady supported during their eight-year tenure at the White House.

"The things that are important to me haven't changed," Obama told Harry. "I still care about making the United States and the world a place where kids get an education, where people who are willing to work hard are able to find a job that pays a living wage, that we are conserving the amazing resources of our planet so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of this place like we did."

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were early supporters of the Invictus Games, the Paralympic-style competition Harry founded for wounded service members. Michelle Obama headlined the opening ceremony at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando with Prince Harry.

The Obamas visited the U.K. for a state visit in 2011 and Prince William, Princess Kate and Harry reciprocated, inviting the president and first lady to Kensington Palace in April 2016. Harry also later welcomed Barack Obama back to Kensington Palace and Barack Obama joined Joe and Jill Biden in attending the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

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