GLAAD’s Annual LGBTQ+ Social Media Safety Report: All Platforms Fail


NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, has released the findings of its second annual Social Media Safety Index (SMSI), a report on the safety of LGBTQ users in five major social networks. media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

The result indicates that GLAAD is a complete failure to protect the safety of LGBTQ+ users.

WSIS 2022 features a Platform Scorecard developed by GLAAD in partnership with Ranking Digital Rights and Goodwin Simon Strategic Research. The platform’s dashboard uses twelve LGBTQ-specific indicators to generate numerical ratings with respect to LGBTQ safety, privacy, and expression. A list of indicators is available here and below. After reviewing platforms on measures such as explicit hate and harassment protections for LGBTQ users, offering gender pronoun options on profiles, and prohibiting advertising that could be harmful and/or discriminatory to LGBTQ people, all platforms scored below 50 out of a possible 100. :

●Instagram: 48%

●Facebook: 46%

● Twitter: 45%

● YouTube: 45%

●TikTok: 43%

Key platform dashboard metrics include:

● The company must disclose a policy commitment to protect LGBTQ users from harm, discrimination, harassment, and hate on the platform.

● The company must disclose an option for users to add pronouns to user profiles.

● The company must disclose a policy expressly prohibiting targeted dead names and gender errors from other users.

● The company must clearly disclose the options users have to control the company’s collection, inference, and use of information about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

● The company must disclose the training of content moderators, including those employed by contractors, that trains them for the needs of vulnerable users, including LGBTQ users.

“Today’s political and cultural landscapes demonstrate the real-world harmful effects of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and online misinformation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “The hate and harassment, along with blatant misinformation and lies about LGBTQ people, which are going viral on social media, create real dangers, from legislation that harms our community to recent threats of violence at Pride rallies. . Social media platforms are actively participating in the rise of the anti-LGBTQ cultural climate and their only response may be to urgently create safer products and policies and then enforce those policies.

GLAAD also released new data from a May 2022 study conducted with Community Marketing & Insights. 84% of LGBTQ adults agree that there are not enough protections on social media to prevent discrimination, harassment or misinformation. 40% of all LGBTQ adults and 49% of transgender and non-binary people feel unwelcome and unsafe on social media.

Additionally, the recently released ADL Online Hate and Harassment 2022 report found that 66% of LGBTQ users have experienced online harassment, with 54% of LGBTQ users reporting serious harassment, including ongoing harassment, stalking, or doxxing.

In addition to the Platform Dashboard, GLAAD’s ISMS provides platform-specific recommendations for improving LGBTQ safety.

Additional trends reported in the WSIS include:

● Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on social media translates into real harm, including levels of strict harassment for LGBTQ users in relation to 2021.

● The problem of hate speech and anti-LGBTQ misinformation continues to be a public health and safety issue. Viral misinformation and inaccuracies have been cited as drivers for many of the roughly 250 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states across the country this year. Platforms largely respond to this dangerous misinformation with inaction and often fail to enforce their own policies regarding this content.

● Issues such as the promotion of so-called ‘conversion therapy’, targeted gender errors and dead names, and lack of true reporting transparency, remain prevalent for some platforms. Only certain platforms prohibit actions such as targeted sex abuse and promotion of conversion therapy. These actions must be prohibited throughout the industry.

● Corporations have the tools they need to effectively combat hate and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, but instead prioritize profit over safety and LGBTQ lives.

Platform recommendations include:

● Improve the design of the algorithms that currently circulate and amplify harmful content, extremism and hate.

● Train moderators to understand the needs of LGBTQ users and to moderate in all languages, cultural backgrounds and regions.

● Be transparent about content moderation, community guidelines and terms of service policy implementation, and algorithm design.

● Reinforce and enforce existing community guidelines and terms of service that protect LGBTQ people and others.

● Respect data privacy, especially when LGBTQ people are vulnerable to serious harm and violence. This includes stopping the practice of targeted surveillance advertising, in which companies use powerful algorithms to recommend content to users in order to maximize profits.

The inaugural May 2021 edition of the Index was the tech industry’s first and only benchmark on LGBTQ user safety. Over the past year, GLAAD has worked with platforms and applauded major achievements in the technology responsibility space, including TikTok’s amendment to its Community Guidelines in March 2022 in which an explicit ban against gender errors and dead names targeted has been enacted, as recommended by WSIS 2021. As noted in this year’s WSIS, such a ban does not exist on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

Congressional hearings, alarming research findings on the spread of misinformation, and massive media coverage have laid bare the urgent need for independent regulatory oversight of these companies – with virtually universal agreement on the need for transparency and industry-wide responsibility. The WSIS GLAAD adds LGBTQ recommendations to this necessary and urgent dialogue.

“All platforms should follow the example of TikTok and Twitter and should immediately incorporate an explicit ban against targeted gender errors and dead names of transgender and non-binary people in hateful conduct policies,” said Jenni Olson, Director Principal of Social Media Security at GLAAD. “This recommendation remains an especially high priority in our current landscape where anti-trans rhetoric and attacks are so pervasive, vicious and harmful. We also urge these companies to effectively moderate this content and enforce these policies. »

Read the full report and its findings:

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