When it comes to providing an inclusive and safe experience for LGBTQ users, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube all fall short, according to a new report from LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD. The 2022 Social Media Safety Index, released Wednesday, gave each of the platforms a failing grade after considering policies related to LGBTQ “safety, privacy and expression.”
GLAAD, an organization that fights LGBTQ discrimination in the media, rated social media sites using a 12-point scorecard designed with Ranking Digital Rights and Goodwin Simon Strategic Research. Each platform was scored on a series of criteria ranging from the user side to internal company practices. These include a user’s ability to identify with inclusive pronouns, the site’s “political commitment to protecting LGBTQ users”, and its efforts to diversify its workforce. Moderation policies and data use and disclosure were also considered, among other factors.
The five social media sites the researchers assessed scored below 50 out of 100, with TikTok receiving the lowest score of 43 points and Instagram receiving the highest score, at 48 points.
[Related: ‘Hate is addictive’: TikTok’s new policies might do little for LGBTQ users’ safety]
In a statement released with the Index, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis pointed to recent GLAAD research that found 84% of LGBTQ adults think social media companies don’t offer adequate protection against discrimination, and 40% do not feel “welcomed”. and safe” using these platforms. This figure rises to 49% when looking at responses from transgender and non-binary users.
Ellis accused social media companies of ‘putting profit before safety and LGBTQ lives’, and added that discriminatory content online had a ‘real impact’ of ‘driving hatred and violence’ towards the LGBTQ community.
This is the second year that GLAAD has published a Social Media Safety Index. Following last year’s inaugural report, GLAAD says TikTok changed its community guidelines to expressly prohibit hateful content, including dead names and gender errors, a criteria that was part of this year’s assessment.
The new index also offers specific recommendations for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube on how they can improve on these points in the future. For example, one of GLAAD’s suggestions is that Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok clarify and enforce policies prohibiting third-party advertisers from targeting users with ads based on their gender identity.