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GLAAD: Major social media platforms fail to fully protect LGBTQ+ users

The 24-page report by GLAAD called Twitter the most dangerous platform.
GLAAD: Major social media platforms fail to fully protect LGBTQ+ users
Posted at 2:02 PM, Jun 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-18 19:47:21-04

One of the world’s leading LGBTQ+ advocacy groups flunked nearly every major social media platform on how they protect LGBTQ+ members.

GLAAD gave Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter low or failing grades for LGBTQ+ safety against hate speech and harassment in its third annual Social Media Safety Index Report.

The 24-page reportcalled Twitter the most dangerous platform.

"It's been a really, really unfortunate thing, I mean, you know, for all users, but especially for LGBTQ folks," Jenni Olson, the organization's Social Media Safety Program Director, told Scripps News.

Jenni Olson oversees GLAAD's social media safety index and is one of the authors of this year’s report.

Olson says that one of the major reasons for the low safety scores is that platforms are failing to interpret and enforce their own policies against hate speech and harassment.

"We over and over again find that even though all of the companies actually have policies that very clearly say hate speech is not allowed on YouTube, period, super simple. The reality is the way that they seem to interpret what that means is very different than how we interpret what that means," said Olson.

Despite the very low grades for all five platforms, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube saw their scores rise modestly from last year’s index.

Twitter’s score, however, declined 12 points from 2022, from 45% to 33% out of 100%.

It comes amid a string of regressive policies and practices since Elon Musk took over the company last October, with Musk himself posting anti-transgender memes on the platform.

SEE MORE: Human Rights Campaign declares state of emergency for LGBTQ+ community

In April, the company also quietly removed a policy against the targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgendered individuals.

"It's become a really dangerous place. GLAAD is part of the Stop Toxic Twitter Coalition, which is a coalition of more than 60 civil society organizations, you know, extremely concerned about the level of toxic hate and disinformation on the platform," said Olson.

While Twitter has taken noticeable steps back in its policies and protections, Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, saw a 15-point improvement in its safety score. Instagram scored 63%, while Facebook scored 61%.

It's the result of new policies from Meta that prohibit misgendering users and enforce gender policy training for content moderators.

TikTok also took steps to improve its privacy offerings for LGBTQ+ members since GLAAD’s 2022 report also enforced policy training for content moderation. TikTok saw a 14-point increase with a score of 57%.

YouTube is also being credited for improvements to its training protocols and diversity reporting, and it scored 54%.

Despite the changes, GLAAD says it found that all of the major platforms "continue to fail at enforcing the safeguarding of LGBTQ users from online hate speech," which is why the scores are so low, and says those platforms also fail at expressing commitments to protecting LGBTQ users, specifically policies and commitments to protect transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming users from being targeted.

"So there needs to be regulatory solutions that will force them to genuinely be accountable and to genuinely make their products safe," said Olson.


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