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Top Social Media Platforms ‘Dangerous’ For LGBTQ Users, Report Says

Five of the world’s leading social media platforms are “indeed dangerous for LGBTQ users,” according to a new report from GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy group.

In its first Social Media Safety Rating, released on Monday, GLAAD rated the “LGBTQ User Safety Experience” of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Initially, the organization intended to rate each platform, but changed course after realizing that it would give all five failure ratings, said Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD.

“What we realized was that was not the right place to start,” Ellis said in an interview with Axios. “The right place to start was giving them the information to take action and giving them a roadmap to be successful. It’s about less oversight, more partnerships with these platforms to get it right.

The main findings of the 50-page report – in addition to finding the “entire sector” dangerous – identified the “prevalence and intensity of hate speech and harassment” as the “most important issue in need of urgent improvement” on social media platforms and labeling. the “problem of anti-LGBTQ hate speech and disinformation” on platforms as a “public health and safety issue”.

According to an Anti-Defamation League survey mentioned in the index, 64% of LGBTQ respondents said they had experienced hatred and harassment online, compared with 46% of Muslims, 36% of Jews and around a third of respondents. black, Latin American and Asian American.

One of the report’s criticisms of Facebook highlights “harmful” anti-LGBTQ ads and its failure to detect and ban them. GLAAD, however, praised the company for creating campaigns, product features and original content that shine a light on the LGBTQ community.

In an emailed statement, Alex Schultz, vice president of analytics and chief marketing officer for Facebook, said the company is committed to making the platform and its workplace “places safe and inclusive for the LGBTQ + community ”. He said Facebook has invested in artificial intelligence to suppress hate speech, produced online safety guides and developed tools to block Instagram post requests.

GLAAD encouraged Twitter to employ more human moderators to better interpret legitimate use of LGBTQ terminology and differentiate legitimate accounts from those of trolls and bad actors. The report says the company has improved user safety, however, by blocking hashtags known to spread hate and removing repeat offenders. GLAAD also applauded Twitter for banning gender abuse and offensive names of transgender people.

A spokesperson said Twitter welcomed the report and “the opportunity to better understand the experiences and needs of LGBTQ + communities on our service.”

The report called out YouTube for the prevalence of content that GLAAD called “anti-LGBTQ hate speech” on the platform. He also claimed that YouTube frequently removes, filters or demonetizes relevant LGBTQ content for allegedly violating the platform’s community guidelines.

In response, a YouTube spokesperson thanked GLAAD for its “thoughtful comments” and said, “Over the past few years, we have made significant progress in our ability to promptly remove hateful and harassing content against the LGBTQ + community. that violates our policies, prominently showing content in search results and recommendations from authoritative sources and limiting the dissemination of extreme content through our recommendations.

GLAAD has slammed TikTok for claims it “banned the shadows” and censored some legitimate LGBTQ hashtags. The report says, however, that TikTok quickly implemented measures that reduced hate speech and anti-LGBTQ misinformation.

In response, a spokesperson for TikTok said, “We share GLAAD’s dedication to the safety of the LGBTQ + community and will continue to work with GLAAD and other LGBTQ + organizations to help inform and strengthen our work.

The report includes a nine-point “Responsibility Checklist” for social media platforms. The recommendations, intended to help them become safer for LGBTQ users, include “greater protection of LGBTQ users in community guidelines”; “Improved moderation of content”; “LGBTQ recruitment, inclusion and leadership”; and “the promotion of civil discourse”.

“The safety of LGBTQ people on social media platforms is an urgent public safety issue,” Ellis said in the report. “If we approach this issue from a public health and public safety perspective, it is clear that companies have an inherent responsibility to make their products not only safer, but in fact truly safe – for LGBTQ users and for everyone. “

GLAAD said it will include the ratings for each social media platform in future annual reports.

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