Veteran musician and philanthropist Elton John has called on social-media giants to do more to "champion humanity" at a lecture about HIV that paid tribute to his close friend, the late Princess Diana.
The 71-year-old star, who has been heavily involved in the fight against AIDS for decades, made the plea to technology firms during his Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture on HIV at the Institut Francais here, reported USA Today.
"Companies like Facebook and Instagram cannot pretend they are purely private enterprises. I believe they have a public role and responsibility. Imagine if they put their mic behind debates that could counter ignorance. Homophobia fuels shame, isolation, cruelty and anger, and therefore HIV.
"But if we found ways to automatically respond to hatred with fact, good could be all the way around the world before falsehood even got its boots on," John said.
He said tech companies are not doing "nearly enough" to harness the power of their platforms to raise awareness about health issues.
"At a stroke, we can reach 2 billion people at a moment on Facebook. Imagine that power turned to compassion and love, injected with real humanity. Imagine if instead of all that ingenuity, brainpower and big data being deployed to turn a quick buck, it was used to turn around lives.
"How incredible if they could start with something as pernicious, as lethal, as the stigma of Aids," John said.
He also paid tribute to his "exceptional" close friend Diana and her "great qualities: her compassion, her sense of duty, and her humility".
The lecture was launched by the NAT in 1999 as a tribute to the Princess of Wales, who was the first member of the royal family to have contact with a person suffering from HIV/Aids.
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