News (USA)

Social media platforms are banning content promoting conversion therapy

A computer keyboard with keys depicting social media platform logos.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/todaytesting

Spoutible, an emerging social media platform launched last February as an alternative to X, has joined a growing number of platforms that have banned content promoting so-called “conversion therapy.”

According to The Advocate, the platform’s founder, Christopher Bouzy, confirmed that the ban was implemented last week. On its website, Spoutible specifically touts its commitment to “creating a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable online space for all” while “mitigating targeted harassment, hate speech, disinformation, and platform manipulation.”

“Women, people of color, disabled people, and the LGBTQ+ community play significant roles in shaping the direction of Spoutible. We believe that diversity is key to building a platform that serves all of our users, regardless of their background or identity,” the site states.

Bouzy, who also founded Bot Sentinel, a Twitter analytics service that tracks disinformation and targeted harassment, previously told The Advocate that LGBTQ+ advocacy organization GLAAD’s input was integral to Spoutible’s policymaking.

The move comes a month after Post, another X alternative geared specifically toward news and journalism, announced updated protections for LGBTQ+ users that included a ban on pro-“conversion therapy” content.

“Specifically with respect to the LGBTQ+ community, denial of an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation or promoting conversion therapy or related programs that attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are not allowed and will be considered a violation of the Content Rules,” the updated policy reads.

“Part of our mission of ‘Civil Conversations’ is to allow anyone to feel safe enough to state their ideas without being attacked for who they are,” Post founder and CEO Noam Bardin told The Advocate at the time. “The LGBTQ+ community is more likely to be attacked, so we are always evaluating what is needed to create a safe environment.” He also noted that users can flag content that breaches the platform’s rules for review by Post’s team.

GLAAD, which has advocated for greater protections for LGBTQ+ social media users, praised both companies.

“The leadership of both Post and Spoutible in adopting new policies prohibiting so-called ‘conversion therapy’ content puts these companies ahead of so many others,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “GLAAD urges all social media platforms to adopt, and enforce, this policy and protect their LGBTQ users.”

Post and Spoutible join more established, widely known platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, and NextDoor, as well as Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, which all explicitly ban content promoting “conversion therapy.”

The widely debunked and discredited practice, which purports to change queer people’s sexual orientation, has been described as a form of psychological torture. The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and many other professional healthcare associations consider the practice harmful and say that it is based on pseudoscience. According to the Movement Advancement Project, the District of Columbia and 22 states currently have laws on the books banning the harmful practice for minors.

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