Study: Social Media Platforms ‘Categorically Unsafe’ For LGBTQs

A young gay man on social media
(photo: Eddy Billard/Unsplash)

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, has announced the findings of its inaugural Social Media Safety Index (SMSI), a 50-page report on LGBTQ user safety across five major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

The overall takeaway is that  all five platforms are “categorically unsafe” for LGBTQ people.

From Axios:

GLAAD had planned to give each of the sites a grade as part of its inaugural social media index, but opted not to give individual grades this year after determining all the leading sites would receive a failing grade.

“They are categorically unsafe, across the board,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. The findings follow a several month effort by GLAAD and a team of outside experts who looked at each of the sites, their policies and track record of enforcing those policies.

Ellis said that all of the sites hold themselves out as LGBTQ-friendly and nonetheless allow for LGBTQ people to be harassed on a daily basis as well as allowing harmful misinformation to spread unchecked.

Each of the social media platforms defended their efforts to protect LGBTQ people.

Facebook/Instagram CMO Alex Schultz declared their deep belief in “the representation of and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community that GLAAD champions.”

“Finding the right balance between giving voice and taking action on harmful content is hard,” added Schultz. “This is why we partner with experts, non-profits and other stakeholders – like GLAAD – to try to get it right.”

YouTube issued a statement noting its ‘significant progress’ in removing “hateful and harassing content against the LGBTQ+ community that violates our policies, prominently surface content in search results and recommendations from authoritative sources and limit the spread of extreme content by our recommendations.”

Twitter says it welcomes GLAAD’s initiative and the chance to “better understand the experiences and needs of the LGBTQ+ communities on our service.”

And TikTok promised it is “committed to supporting and uplifting LGBTQ+ voices on and off the platform and we care deeply about fostering a welcoming and supportive experience for everyone.”