According to a new report from GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, all five major social media platforms received failing grades for the safety of LGBTQ users.
Second annual Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) results were released Wednesday, an analysis of LGBTQ user safety on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok. – The organization
On 12 LGBTQ-specific metrics, GLAAD found that all five platforms received scores below 50 out of 100, including policies on misgendering or deadnaming, actions to restrict harmful content, prohibition of harmful advertising, option to add gender pronouns on user profiles, as well as commitment to protect LGBTQ users from harm..
TikTok scored just 43 out of 100, which was the lowest score for any of the Meta-owned platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Jenni Olson, senior director of SMSI, described the outcome as “pretty disappointing.” It was a surprise to me that they performed so poorly. I had expected that they would.
Last year’s findings were seen as a wake-up call for platforms, according to Olson, who also worked on the 2021 report. “Last year, we made a lot of recommendations to the platforms, and this year, we wanted to see how they did in terms of implementation. “Were any changes made?”
According to the GLAAD’s latest Social Media Safety Index, LGBTQ users on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok are safe on all five major social media platforms. (Shutterstock/)
In spite of the fact that all five platforms received a perfect score in an indicator measuring “policy commitment to protect LGBTQ users,” Olson noted that they are, at least anecdotally, failing to enforce their own policies.
GLAAD has worked with each platform over the past year to help them better combat anti-LGBTQ hate speech, which is “just rampant on social media and in the world, resulting in real-world harm,” Olson said, citing extremist groups such as the Proud Bous and the Patriot Front, which show up at Pride events and Drag Queen Story Hour meetings, physically harassing people — often as a result of online misinformation.
“These heinous, irresponsible, false assertions that are just these heinous, outrageous, politically motivated assertions about LGBTQ people being dangerous to children,” she added.
The organization’s president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, agreed. There are real-world dangers arising from the misinformation and outright lies about LGBTQ people that circulate on social media, according to her, including legislation harming our community and the recent threats of violence at Pride gatherings.
Such companies, Ellis argued, play an important role in the rise of anti-LGBTQ cultural climate in the country, and their only response is to urgently create safer products and policies and then enforce these policies.
According to GLAAD, there has been some progress since the first SMSI edition was released in May 2021. Both TikTok and Twitter have made it clear that they will not promote the harmful and even deadly practice of so-called LGBTQ “conversion therapy.”
Another important policy change was TikTok’s addition of an explicit prohibition against misgendering and deadnaming, which describes revealing a trans person’s birth name without their permission — a prohibition that still does not exist on the other four platforms.
GLAAD asserts that the 2021 SMSI recommended both of these modifications, and they were implemented as a result.
According to a TikTok spokesperson, the company is “committed to supporting and uplifting LGBTQ+ voices and we work hard to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people to thrive” and is “continually [taking] steps to strengthen our protections for marginalized people.”
One of Meta’s spokespeople stated that both Instagram and Facebook “remove claims about someone’s gender identity upon their request” and “prohibit violent or dehumanizing content directed against people who identify as LGBTQ+.
We also work closely with our partners in the civil rights community to identify additional measures, the spokesperson said.
Olson’s job also entails monitoring social media platforms on a constant basis. In a recent attack on actor Elliot Page, “this right-wing figure with millions of followers who’s bullying and harassing trans people” was “maliciously misgendered and named.”
Specifically, she was referring to Jordan Peterson, a right-wing firebrand who had his Twitter account temporarily suspended due to his vile remarks.
It’s important to us at Twitter that everyone who uses our service feels safe and secure,” a Twitter spokesperson told the New York Post. According to the organization, “We appreciate GLAAD’s input and look forward to learning more about how our service can better serve the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.”
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