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GLAAD RESOURCE FOR COVERAGE OF JANUARY 31 US SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING
- Last updated: January 30, 2024
GLAAD statement: “Proposed solutions should protect everyone and not seek to censor or restrict access to age appropriate educational resources about LGBTQ people.”
January 30, 2024 – The US Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis” on Wednesday, January 31, at 10am ET. The CEOs of Meta, X, TikTok, Snap, and Discord are all scheduled to give testimony.
In advance of the hearing, GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) media advocacy organization, today released a statement on legislative and regulatory approaches to social media. GLAAD urges media covering the hearing to engage in fair and accurate reporting if and when LGBTQ resources and content are discussed.
Statement from GLAAD:
“There is an urgent need for implementing measures to protect the public interest, and especially young people, from the harms and dangers of social media, however, these regulatory and legislative approaches must be mindful of not creating harmful unintended privacy intrusions, censorship or other negative impacts on LGBTQ people, especially youth.
We live in a political landscape where some lawmakers regularly engage in fear tactics and weaponize policy against LGBTQ Americans. It would be naive and misguided to pretend otherwise.
The US Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing is likely to feature anti-LGBTQ lawmakers baselessly attempting to equate age-appropriate LGBTQ resources and content with inappropriate material. Parents and youth do need action to address Big Tech platforms’ harmful business practices, but age-appropriate information about the existence of LGBTQ people should not be grouped in with such content. Journalists covering this hearing should focus on the fact that platforms must do more to address harmful content, while lawmakers should be addressing the underlying business practices that drive harm.
Journalists should also clearly distinguish lawmakers genuinely striving in good faith for thoughtful solutions, from those engaging in fear-mongering and anti-LGBTQ animus.
GLAAD’s annual Social Media Safety Index report presents expert key stakeholder guidance and recommendations to social media companies outlining best practices to improve safety, privacy, and expression on their platforms for LGBTQ people.
The need for external oversight and regulation of the entire industry is clear. However, amidst the many legislative proposals intending to try to fix the urgent problems arising from the products and business practices of under-regulated multinational technology companies (and especially the many proposals focused on social media platforms and youth safety) it is vitally important that such proposed solutions be carefully crafted to prevent potential harms and unintended negative impacts on LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities.
Proposed solutions should protect everyone and not seek to censor or restrict access to age appropriate educational resources about LGBTQ people.”
- Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on social media translates to real-world offline harms.
- Anti-LGBTQ hate speech and disinformation continues to be an alarming public health and safety issue.
- Platforms are largely failing to mitigate this dangerous hate and disinformation and inadequately enforce their own policies.
- Platforms disproportionately suppress LGBTQ content, including via removal, demonetization, and shadowbanning.
- There is a lack of true transparency reporting from the platforms.
- Strengthen and enforce existing policies that protect LGBTQ people and others from hate, harassment, and disinformation, and also from suppression of legitimate LGBTQ expression.
- Train moderators on the needs of LGBTQ users, and moderate across all languages, cultural contexts, and regions.
- Be transparent with regard to content moderation, terms of service policy implementation, algorithm designs, and enforcement reports.
- Stop violating privacy/respect data privacy. Platforms should reduce the amount of data they collect and retain, and cease the practice of targeted surveillance advertising, including the use of powerful algorithms to recommend content.
- Promote civil discourse and proactively message expectations for user behavior (including respecting platform hate and harassment policies).
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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