Meta and Twitter are enabling digital hate against LGBTQ+ communities and failing to act on 99% of the most-viewed anti-LGBTQ+ tweets, new report shows

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TW: post contains screenshots of Tweets including transphobia and homophobia.

A damning new report into online hate on social media platforms, specifically Meta and Twitter, reveals troubling (but unsurprising) findings

 

Social media has always been a volatile place for minority groups, but a (fairly) recent surge in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric online – particularly anti-trans or “gender-critical” sentiment and slurs like “groomer” aimed at all LGBTQ+ folk and supporters – has been noticeably more aggressive of late.

 

On Instagram (owned by Meta) and other services, trolling and orchestrated mass reports, to the extent popular accounts get closed with no workable avenue for appeal, are both commonplace.

 

While it’s commonly acknowledged that discrimination is rife on Facebook, Twitter is a warzone – for none more so than trans and gender-diverse folk.

 

If it’s not high-profile authors or politicians looking to attack their freedom, it’s countless transphobes posting from anonymous “second accounts”, created with the sole purpose of trolling and engaging in social media “pile-ons” (essentially where they all target a person to make their life a living hell for the day or longer, presumably masturbating the entire time, having convinced themselves they’re on some kind of worthy crusade when they are, actually, just psychologically troubled bullies)*, without any professional or personal repercussions.

*for legal reasons we should say this is probably only metaphorical, but also could be entirely true.

 

Old LGB Alliance tweet, reshared in April
Screen shot from Twitter

 

Human Rights Campaign, along with Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) today (August 11) released some disturbing – but to anyone on social media, probably unsurprising – findings.

Researchers analysed discourse and hate-fuelled rhetoric targeting LGBTQ+ people on both Twitter and Facebook, finding an alarming and severe increase in recent months.

 

This surge in hate has centred around the false and baseless narrative that LGBTQ+ people ‘groom’ children, an unwelcome comeback of a trend which, as we have seen on more than one occasion, inevitably spills out into daily life and in-person hostility.

 

 

They identified 989,547 tweets posted between January 1st and July 27th that mention the LGBTQ+ community alongside slurs such as “groomer”, “predator” and “pedophile”.

An audit found that Twitter failed to act on 99% of the 100 hateful tweets reported to them anonymously by CCDH researchers.

 

 

Per the report, Meta (Facebook) is profiting from ads promoting rhetoric that the LGBTQ+ community and its allies are ‘grooming’ children, with CCDH identifying at least 59 ads promoting that narrative. Those ads have been served to users over 2.1 million times.

 

 

Anti-LGBTQ+ tweets increased by a staggering 406% after political proponents of Florida’s hateful ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill re-imaged the legislation as an “anti-grooming” bill, per the report.

 

CCDH remarked in its report:

“Hate, violent extremism, and conspiracies online have an impact offline. The amplification of anti-LGBTQ+ hate, which seeks to dehumanize and stoke fear and violence towards LGBTQ+ people, happens by design.”

“Both Facebook and Twitter are known to algorithmically amplify hate and fail to act on abuse, inauthentic behavior, and content that violates their policies.

 

 

While HRC said: “Tech companies have a responsibility to create and enforce policies that protect all users from online hate and discrimination. We’ve seen firsthand how violent, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric can lead to real-life violence.”

“By failing to address this dangerous rhetoric, tech companies are creating an environment in which anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment is allowed to thrive and dominate online conversations.”

 

 

It is worth noting that young kids have access to social media platforms. The Trevor Project, a charity for LGBTQ+ young people, estimates that at least one LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13–24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the U.S.

Studies show LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to seriously consider suicide than their straight peers.

 

Ken Paxton has been heavily criticised after deliberately misgendering Dr Rachel Levine on social media

 

Of course, LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.

 

 

Read more on the unwelcome resurgence of ‘groomer’ as a slur and the impact it’s had on charities like The Trevor Project here.

 

Read the full HRC/ CCDH report by clicking here.

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