GLAAD: Social media platforms don’t do enough to protect LGBTQ users

According to GLAAD, social networks are still not doing much to protect LGBTQ people from abuse. Bloomberg notes that the media watchdog organization released its second Social Media Safety Index and gave poor ratings to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube after examining their LGBTQ-oriented features and policies. While GLAAD found that all platforms had strict policy obligations and prohibited hateful advertising, their actions generally fell short of those goals.

None of the five platforms have done enough to restrict anti-LGBTQ content, the watchdog said. They also failed to offer gender pronoun options, provide adequate moderator training, minimize the removal of legitimate content, prohibit non-consensual ad targeting, and protect the privacy of gender identity and sexual orientation data. Only TikTok and Twitter adequately prevented targeted attribution and gender aliasing (malicious use of a trans or non-binary person’s name or gender before the transition), while Facebook and Instagram were the only ones making sufficient promises to protect LGBTQ users from harm to protect.

GLAAD made recommendations following the results. It called for more policies against practices like deadnaming and unwanted ad targeting. The organization also wanted Facebook to disclose how it enforces its LGBTQ policies and YouTube to disclose how it minimizes unlawful demonetization and content bans. There was also pressure on TikTok to publicly promise to diversify its workforce.

All five social networks defended their current approaches in statements Bloomberg. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said it bans dehumanizing and violent anti-LGBTQ material and will pull gender-biased content upon request. Twitter said it is already working with GLAAD and discussing the new recommendations. YouTube parent Google stressed that it had made “significant progress” in fetching harmful videos, while TikTok highlighted both its anti-hate policies and the latest tools to encourage friendlier comments.

As Bloomberg pointed out, however, that this protection still has significant gaps. GLAAD hopes the safety index will urge companies to act and that regulators will step in and demand greater accountability.

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