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    2024 Social Media Safety Index

    We Are All Stronger Together: Letter from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis

    Sarah Kate Ellis

    “America is at a critical juncture when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance and safety. We have record-high support for LGBTQ equality, yet we live in an unsafe America for LGBTQ people, especially for transgender people. As we strive to embody the pluralistic values and ideals we all believe in — we know we are all stronger together.”
    — GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis at the March 2024 White House convening of the Bedrock National Leadership Council

    Now in its fourth year, GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) continues to stand as the leading analysis of anti-LGBTQ online hate and disinformation, with a determined focus on increasing safety for LGBTQ social media users. In this report, and in the daily work of our Social Media Safety program, we illuminate the dire landscape of LGBTQ safety across the major social media platforms, as well as shining the light on how these online harms translate to offline harms — from the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ legislative attacks attempting to retract our basic rights to the alarming current state of anti-LGBTQ physical threats and violence. (A chilling 2023 report documented more than 700 anti-LGBTQ hate and extremism incidents from November 2022 – November 2023). Such real-world harms include hate-crime homicides and assaults, bomb threats, death threats, vandalism, burning of LGBTQ Pride flags and other community symbols, and an array of other anti-LGBTQ violence.  (Another similar report documented more than 60 incidents of anti-LGBTQ incidents targeting religious institutions from June 2022 – January 2024.)

    As we have seen over and over again — there is a direct line from dangerous online rhetoric and targeting to violent offline behavior against the LGBTQ community. Sadly, we also see — over and over again — how social media companies refuse to enforce their own rules to protect LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups, despite their assertions that hate speech, bullying, and harassment are not allowed on their platforms.

    Amidst this frightening landscape, GLAAD’s Social Media Safety program continues our monitoring, documenting, reporting, and advocacy work. The expectation of product safety is a fundamental aspect of every business and industry. It should be no different for tech companies and social media platforms. GLAAD urgently calls on all of these companies to improve the safety of their products — for the sake of their LGBTQ users and the invaluable creators whose labor they profit from, for the sake of their advertisers, and for everyone.

    While we have seen important achievements this past year in our efforts, an enormous amount of work lies ahead as we advocate for platforms to fulfill their commitments to LGBTQ safety, privacy, and expression. Weaponized anti-LGBTQ hate and disinformation, and especially anti-trans hate, will continue to be an extraordinarily harmful and dangerous problem, and will no doubt escalate across social media leading up to the U.S. election in November.

    At GLAAD we continue to believe that companies, brands, and institutions across civil society — including social media platforms — can stand up for the pluralistic values we all share. As documented in GLAAD’s 2023 Advertising Visibility Index report, we know that a commitment to such priorities is also good for business. It is incumbent upon us all to stand up — together — and say these relentless attacks on our community (rhetorical, legislative, judicial, and physical) must stop.

    President & CEO, GLAAD

    Sarah Kate Ellis

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