- LIVE UPDATES: The Death of Nex Benedict and Community Response in Oklahoma
- In Memory of Nex
- The GLAAD Wrap: “Drive-Away Dolls” in Theaters, “All of Us Strangers” Streaming, Trailer for “Challengers,” New Music by Katie Pruitt and More!
- Already Vulnerable, Tennessee HIV Criminalization Laws Push Black Trans Women To Brink
- ‘American Fiction’ Composer Laura Karpman Looks To Bring More Visibility To Obscured LGBTQ Art: “Queer People Have Always Been Making Art”
- GLAAD Attends the “Drive-Away Dolls” Premiere: “How often do you see a movie with three queer women at the center of it?”
- Georgia Mothers Denounce Anti-Trans Bills, Rally at State Capitol in Support of LGBTQ Youth
- New Findings Show 60+ Anti-LGBTQ+ Incidents Targeting US Religious Institutions
GLAAD CALLS ON MARK ZUCKERBERG TO MAKE PUBLIC STATEMENT AFTER OVERSIGHT BOARD RULING IN FACEBOOK ANTI-TRANS HATE CONTENT CASE
- Last updated: January 16, 2024
Oversight Board overturns Meta’s original decision to leave up a Facebook post targeting transgender people with violent speech saying: “the company is not living up to the ideals it has articulated on LGBTQIA+ safety.”
GLAAD President and CEO calls on Mark Zuckerberg to make public statement against anti-trans hate and to publicly share plan of action for addressing “epidemic of anti-trans hate” on Meta platforms
(New York, NY — January 16, 2024) Today, GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization responded to a new ruling announced by the Oversight Board (the body that makes consequential precedent-setting content moderation decisions on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram) in the important anti-transgender hate content case “Post in Polish Targeting Trans People” — full details on the ruling are here.
The Oversight Board overturned Meta’s original decision to leave up a Facebook post targeting transgender people with violent speech. The post, an egregious example of anti-trans hate advocating for transgender people to commit suicide, featured an image of a striped curtain in the blue, pink and white colors of the transgender flag with a text overlay in Polish saying: ‘New technology. Curtains that hang themselves.’
“I personally want to hear Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg tell the world, today, that his company cares about the safety, rights, and dignity of transgender people,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This dangerous hate on his platforms is causing devastating real-world harm and it must stop. As GLAAD, HRC and 250+ LGBTQ celebrities and allies vehemently urged Meta back in July 2023, the company must urgently create and share an action plan for addressing the epidemic of anti-trans hate that runs rampant across Facebook, Instagram, and Threads — in violation of their own policies.”
In its decision issued on Tuesday January 16th, the Oversight Board ruled that the post violated both the Hate Speech and Suicide and Self-Injury Community Standards of Meta. The Board ruling echoes and affirms GLAAD’s longstanding guidance to Meta. The ruling states that: “the fundamental issue in this case is not with the policies, but their enforcement. Meta’s repeated failure to take the correct enforcement action, despite multiple signals about the post’s harmful content, leads the Board to conclude the company is not living up to the ideals it has articulated on LGBTQIA+ safety. The Board urges Meta to close enforcement gaps, including by improving internal guidance to reviewers [content moderators].”
The July 2023 open letter to social media platforms from 250+ LGBTQ and ally celebrities and influencers — including Elliot Page, Laverne Cox, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande, and Alyssa Milano — was facilitated by GLAAD and HRC, and demands that major social media companies, including Meta, create and publicly share a plan of action for steps they will be taking to stop the pervasive presence of anti-trans hate across their platforms, especially as such content violates their own hate speech policies. To date there has been no public response to the letter from any of the companies.
“This new Oversight Board ruling presents a vitally important opportunity for Meta,” Ellis continued. “The company must address this urgent and terrifying phenomenon of violent anti-trans hate content. The weaponization of lies targeting historically marginalized groups has a long and terrible history and the spread of such disgusting bigotry should be vehemently and immediately denounced by Meta as not in alignment with their company values.”
Jenni Olson, Senior Director of GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Program said of the ruling: “This is a powerful ruling from the Oversight Board that calls upon Meta to address failures we have been articulating for many years in the annual GLAAD Social Media Safety Index. Meta must urgently improve development and enforcement of their policies to better serve the safety, privacy, and expression of all of their users across all of their platforms.”
GLAAD’s September 2023 Public Comment to the Oversight Board for their adjudication of the case noted that: “Meta’s content moderators should have accurately enforced its policies in the first place. It is a serious problem that the post was only removed after the Oversight Board alerted Meta. This case powerfully illuminates highly consequential systemic failures with the company’s moderation practices that have broad implications for all anti-LGBTQ hate content, as well as for content that targets all historically marginalized groups. Such moderation may be more complex than recognizing basic slurs, but this is why the company must provide adequate training and guidance to its moderators on recognizing anti-trans hate. Meta is fully capable of implementing such training yet continues to fail to prioritize it, resulting in epidemic levels of anti-LGBTQ hate across its platforms.” Read GLAAD’s full public comment here.
One of the most glaring aspects of the case is that in response to multiple requests from users, Facebook’s human content moderators had repeatedly determined that the anti-trans content was not in violation of their policies. It was only after the Oversight Board told Meta that they had chosen the case for review, that Meta finally removed the post. Meta’s hate speech policy prohibits content that targets people on the basis of protected characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Board took public comments on the case through September 2023 before adjudicating and issuing this recommendation. While Oversight Board recommendations are not binding, Meta must respond to them within 60 days.
As highlighted in GLAAD’s 2023 Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) report, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are largely failing to mitigate dangerous anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ hate and disinformation, despite such content conflicting with their own policies. The June 2023 SMSI also made the specific recommendation to Meta and others that they better train moderators on the needs of LGBTQ users, and enforce policies around anti-LGBTQ content across all languages, cultural contexts, and regions.
Research on online and offline anti-LGBTQ threats and violence:
- The 2023 GLAAD Social Media Safety Index found that there are “very real resulting harms to LGBTQ people online, including a chilling effect on LGBTQ freedom of expression for fear of being targeted, and the sheer traumatic psychological impact of being relentlessly exposed to slurs and hateful conduct.”
- GLAAD’s recent Accelerating Acceptance report found that 86% of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that exposure to online hate content leads to real-world violence.
- In 2023 GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded more than 700 incidents of violence and threats targeting LGBTQ people.
- A 2022 survey from GLAAD, UltraViolet, Women’s March, and Kairos showed that a majority of Americans report seeing online threats of violence based on race, gender or sexual orientation and also experience harm by witnessing harassment against their communities, even when the posts aren’t about them individually.
Background on anti-LGBTQ climate in Poland:
- In a 2023 report from ILGA-Europe, Poland was ranked 42nd out of 49 countries in the European Union for LGBTQ equality
- ILGA-Europe’s primary report recommendation to the Polish government is to introduce hate speech and hate crime laws that explicitly cover all anti-LGBTQ bias-motivated crimes.
- The report notes that there is a continuing trend of rising hate speech in Poland, much of it related to trans people, and online hate speech is noted as a serious issue.
All Major Social Media Platforms Fail on LGBTQ Safety:
The third annual GLAAD Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) & Platform Scorecard was released in June 2023. After reviewing the platforms on 12 LGBTQ-specific indicators, all platforms received low and failing scores:
- Instagram: 63%
- Facebook: 61%
- TikTok: 57%
- YouTube: 54%
- Twitter: 33%
Key findings of the 2023 SMSI included:
- Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on social media translates to real-world offline harms.
- Social media platforms are largely failing to mitigate this dangerous hate and disinformation and inadequately enforce their own policies.
- There is a lack of true transparency reporting from the platforms.
The 2024 GLAAD Social Media Safety Index is forthcoming in May 2024.
About the GLAAD Social Media Safety program:
GLAAD’s Social Media Safety program actively researches, monitors, and reports on a variety of issues facing LGBTQ social media users — with a focus on safety, privacy and expression — advocating for solutions in numerous realms. The annual Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) provides recommendations for the industry at large and reports on LGBTQ user safety across the five major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Learn more by reading the annual GLAAD Social Media Safety Index & Platform Scorecard here.
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.
One year ago a coalition of more than 100 LGBTQ organizations and notables called out…