“Do you know any LGBTQ people who have witnessed or experienced anti-LGBTQ hate on social media?” We asked GLAAD staff this question in May as our first-of-its-kind 50-page Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) report was about to launch. The universal reply was, “Do you know anyone who hasn’t?”
In addition to determining that anti-LGBTQ hate and harassment is the most significant problem across all social media platforms, the SMSI report concluded that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok are effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users across categories ranging from algorithms and AI to content moderation and data privacy.
Over the past few months, GLAAD’s new Social Media Safety program director Jenni Olson has been (virtually) presenting the findings of the SMSI report at conferences, events, and meetings around the world. Our latest opportunity to showcase this pioneering research is especially exciting — we have a panel proposal under consideration for the prestigious annual film, music, and tech gathering, SXSW which happens in Austin, TX in March 2022.
If this work sounds important to you and you’re interested to learn more, please take a few moments to click through and Vote Up GLAAD’s proposed SXSW panel presentation: Social Media Platform Accountability, LGBTQ Edition so we can continue to elevate our advocacy efforts to wider audiences. The SXSW Panel Picker voting is open now through August 26. It only takes a minute — you can quickly create your account here and then vote for our panel here. Be sure to check out the many other LGBTQ panels and vote for them as well, including Bringing Brands Out of the Closet — featuring GLAAD Head of Talent, Anthony Ramos in conversation with Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei, the out gay couple co-founders of the Austin-based Wunderkeks cookie company.
Just to give you a preview of the SXSW Social Media Safety Index panel: SMSI program director Jenni Olson will give an overview of the report itself, talk about the ongoing advocacy work we’re doing with the major social media platforms, and share some of the top recommendations from our advisory committee (which includes LGBTQ leaders in tech like journalist Kara Swisher, Dr. Sarah T. Roberts from the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, and digital safety specialist Leigh Honeywell). The presentation will also include a conversation with attendees about how we can all be a part of creating safer spaces for LGBTQ people online.
Since the May release of the SMSI report, GLAAD has had meetings with the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok) to review our recommendations. While these companies have expressed their commitments to working with GLAAD on improving their products, there is an enormous amount of work to do in holding them accountable. Next year’s report, already in progress, will incorporate a ratings system to evaluate their progress and to continue to foreground the needs of LGBTQ users.
You’ll be hearing GLAAD speak out and take leadership on these topics in the weeks and months ahead. In her introduction to the SMSI report, GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis conveys the vital importance and urgency of this work: “Social media platforms must act immediately to improve social media safety for LGBTQ people. These companies have an inherent responsibility to make their products safe — for LGBTQ users, and for everyone.”
Thanks for helping us out by voting for our panel, and we hope to see you (in person or online) at SXSW next spring!
Action Item: SXSW Panel Picker voting for GLAAD’s: “Social Media Platform Accountability, LGBTQ Edition” is now open. Click here to vote — now through August 26th.