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Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others are ‘inadequate’ in protecting LGBTQ users, GLAAD says

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The report found that more people turn to social media to consume news (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)
The report found that more people turn to social media to consume news (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)

Technology companies are not doing enough to make their platforms safe for LGBTQ users, according to a new report.

“Current content moderation and hate speech policies continue to be inadequate, failing to protect LGBTQ users and the LGBTQ community as a whole, while at the same time companies knowingly neglect to enforce the policies that do exist”, GLAAD said, introducing its recent Social Media Safety Index.

The organisation scored Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok on policies including deadnaming and misgendering of transgender and non-binary people to better training for content moderators.

It said that these technology sites had harmful and polarising algorithms, a lack of transparency and accountability, and inadequate content moderation. This is based on their publicaly stated policies rather than the enforcement of them, as such matters are not easily assessed by outside researchers.

It suggested that the companies “improve design of algorithms that curently circulate and amplify harmful content, extremism, and hate”, as well as confronting the problems of bias in artificial intelligence and strengthen and enforce existing guidelines that protect LGBTQ people.

For example, only Twitter and TikTok have policies in place to protect trans people from being deadnamed, while Instagram and Facebook only scored 25 out of 100 on content moderator training. TIkTok scored 50 out of 100, while Twitter and YouTube scored zero.

Every company is either former or current financial backers of GLAAD.

In a statement to The Independent, TikTok said that it is “committed to supporting and uplifting LGBTQ+ voices, and we work hard to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people to thrive”, and that it was “committed to seeing that our policies and practices are fair and equitable, and we continually take steps to strengthen our protections for marginalised people and communities.”

Other technology companies did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment before time of publication, but a Meta spokesperson told Protocol: “We prohibit violent or dehumanizing content directed against people who identify as LGBTQ+ and remove claims about someone’s gender identity upon their request. We also work closely with our partners in the civil rights community to identify additional measures we can implement through our products and policies.”

A Twitter spokesperson told The Independent: “At Twitter we know the public conversation only reaches its full potential when every community feels safe and comfortable participating. We welcome GLAAD’s feedback and the opportunity to better understand the experiences and needs of the LGBTQ+ communities on our service.

“GLAAD has been an active member of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council since 2016 and a key partner in this space. We’ve engaged with GLAAD to better understand their recommendations and are committed to an open dialogue to better inform our work to support LGBTQ safety.”

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