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Social media platforms still fail to enforce protections for LGBTQ users: GLAAD

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NEW YORK: The five largest social media platforms are failing to enforce LGBTQ user protection policies, according to a new report from GLAAD.

The report, released last week, shows that each platform has a political commitment to protect its queer, transgender and gender non-conforming users. But based on other metrics, these platforms either fail to meet their commitments or omit key forms of protection.

This is the second year that LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD has released its annual Social Media Safety Index, a study assessing how well Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok protect their LGBTQ users. It assigns each platform a score between zero and 100 in 12 categories, then combines them to give the platform an overall score. GLAAD gave all five platforms failing grades with scores between 43 and 48.

A “political commitment to protect LGBTQ users” is the only category GLAAD gave each platform a 100. Each failed in different categories, such as offering gender pronouns on user profiles, demonetization of LGBTQ content and training moderators.

“Prominent right-wing voices are speaking out and violating these policies by spouting misinformation about LGBTQ people,” said Rich Ferraro, director of communications at GLAAD. “The actions that platforms say they will take in the event of harassment don’t always happen. And I think that’s because of the public relations implications.

Ferraro said platforms can’t just accommodate LGBTQ users, but must also crack down on anti-LGBTQ users with actions like banning dead names and gender errors, a category in which Instagram, Facebook and YouTube all received a zero.

GLAAD assembled the report with independent research firm Goodwin Simon, advisers from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, and other LGBTQ advocates.

This year marks the first time the report has included metrics and scores. Last year’s report was a roadmap of how the platforms could improve. One suggestion was to ban dead names and gender errors, a policy she continues to ask Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to implement.

Ferraro said he doesn’t expect any rig to get a 100 anytime soon. He also said he hopes the scores will improve by next year’s report.

The legal case between Twitter and Elon Musk could affect this prediction. On Tuesday, a Delaware court granted Twitter an October trial for its lawsuit against Elon Musk, which is close to the platform’s preferred September date. The lawsuit could force Musk into a $44 billion deal to buy the platform.

GLAAD released a statement in April objecting to potential ownership of the platform by Musk. The statement cited Musk’s tweets that criticized the use of pronouns.

Musk recently slammed Twitter for deleting author Jordan Peterson’s tweet that named actor Elliot Page.

“If Elon Musk doesn’t run Twitter, I think there’s a much better chance they’ll do their enforcement job,” Ferraro said.

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