The Royal Family has published rules for followers of its social media channels, warning that anyone who posts offensive comments will be blocked or reported to the police in the wake of escalating abuse of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex. The Royal Family has issued guidelines on social media to create a “safe environment” on its Twitter and Instagram channels, urging “courtesy, kindness and respect”. Anyone who posts obscene, offensive or unintelligible content now runs the risk of being deleted, blocked or subject to legal proceedings in the most significant measures yet to protect the mental health and wellbeing of followers.The decision to publish formal guidelines follows increasingly hostile commentary on the Royal Family’s accounts, particularly on photographs published of the Cambridges and Sussexes by Kensington Palace.On Twitter and Instagram, the comments section has regularly descended into abuse of both Duchesses, with the Duchess of Sussex subjected to racist comments on top of the sexist and offensive words aimed at both her and the Duchess of Cambridge. The guidelines state that comments must not “contain spam, be defamatory of any person, deceive others, be obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, hateful, inflammatory or promote sexually explicit material or violence”. They must never “promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age” or “breach any of the terms of any of the social media platforms themselves”. In addition, they must not “be off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible”, or “contain any advertising or promote any services”.While Kensington Palace has already taken measures to delete comments and block particular offensive words, those found to be in breach of the guidelines will now face formal sanctions. “We reserve the right to determine, at our discretion, whether contributions to our social media channels breach our guidelines,” the statement said.”We reserve the right to hide or delete comments made on our channels, as well as block users who do not follow these guidelines.”We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law.”The main Royal Family account has 3.8 million followers on Twitter, 4.5 million on Instagram, and its Facebook page has 4.8 million likes, while Clarence House has 812,000 followers on Twitter and 624,000 on Instagram. It follows rapid growth of the social media accounts in the last few years, with thousands of comments now accompanying them every week. Some, aides say, have become highly inappropriate or threatening, moving beyond fair criticism of the Royal Family or the work of individual members.In a statement issued on social media today, the three households of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace said they wanted to “create an environment where our community can engage safely in debate and is free to make comments, questions and suggestions”.”We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities,” the statement said. “In order to help create this safe environment we have set out some guidelines which apply to any engagement with us or other members of the community on any of our social media channels.” The Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex at Wimbledon Trooping the Colour 2018Credit:Chris Jackson Today we have published guidelines for interacting with The Royal Family, @ClarenceHouse and @KensingtonRoyal social media channels. Read in full here: https://t.co/b57TjSn09d— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 4, 2019 Palace aides are understood to have been particularly concerned about users abusing one another, often in the guise of supporting “Team Meghan” or “Team Kate”. It is the first time the palace has published formal guidance on social media. The Cambridges and the Sussexes’ official account @KensingtonRoyal has nearly 1.7 million followers on Twitter and 7.1 million on Instagram, many of whom joined after the arrival of the Duchess of Sussex.As Meghan Markle, she ran her own personal accounts and lifestyle website thetig.com, but closed them ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry. The Duke of Cambridge has been a prominent campaigner against cyberbullying, and has previously accused social media giants of being “on the back foot” when it comes to fighting issues like online bullying, fake news, and hate speech.