Barack Obama and Prince Harry (BBC Radio 4)

Barack Obama and Prince Harry (BBC Radio 4)

*Barack Obama’s full interview with Prince Harry has been released, featuring the former U.S. president discussing what it was like to watch Donald Trump being sworn in, the new president’s Twitter problem and much more – including the pressing issue of boxers or briefs.

In the Q&A, which aired Wednesday morning on BBC Radio 4 program “Today,” (guest-edited by Prince Harry), Obama never mentioned Trump by name, but said people in a position of power need to be more careful when posting messages. He also said that social media platforms are distorting the public’s views, leading to a society where “people can have totally different realities… cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”

“As a former Constitutional lawyer I’m pretty firm about the merits of free speech and the question I think really has to do with how we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, diversity of views but doesn’t lead to a Balkanisation of our society but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground,” Obama added. “I’m not sure Government can legislate that but what I do believe is that all of us in leadership has to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet.”

Obama acknowledged that most of the corrosive debate takes place “outside of government” and suggested ways to take on the issue.

“A good way to fight against that is to make sure online communities don’t just stay online, that they move offline. Social media is a really powerful tool for people of common interests to convene and get to know each other offline, meet in a pub, a place of worship, a neighborhood and get to know each other.

“And it’s also harder to be as obnoxious and cruel in person as people can be anonymously on the Internet.”

Obama also looked back on the day he handed over power to Trump and despite feeling satisfied he says 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.

Then, Obama eventually did what he does best – offer hope in these Trumpian times. Prince Harry asked: “At the end of 2016 many people were relieved it had finished, it was a turbulent year – 2017 hasn’t exactly been easy for the world and many people are worried about the direction the world is headed – can you give a reason for people to feel optimistic for the year ahead?”

To which Obama replied: “I don’t think in terms of one year but I can tell people what I genuinely believe which is that if we take responsibility for being involved in our own fate, if we participate, if we engage, if we speak out, if we work in our communities, if we volunteer, if we see the joy that comes from service to others then all the problems we face are solvable.”

They also tackled these burning questions:

Boxers or Briefs
LeBron or Jordan
Aretha or Tina
Kim or Khloe
Harry or William
“Suits” or “The Good Wife”
The Rock or Chris Rock

Listen to Obama’s answers below:

Download the podcast of Obama’s full interview with Prince Harry below or listen to it in the video above: