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X is the worst social media app for LGBTQ+ people, says new report

TikTok on a phone
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GLAAD has just released its annual Social Media Safety Index report, finding that X (formerly Twitter) scored the lowest out of any social media site.

Every social media site graded in GLAAD’s index failed the assessment, with most grades falling below 60%. The highest grade, 67%, went to TikTok, which reportedly made improvements in the past year.

“Leaders of social media companies are failing at their responsibility to make safe products. When it comes to anti-LGBTQ hate and disinformation, the industry is dangerously lacking on enforcement of current policies,” said GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis via X.

The social media sites analyzed include TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Threads, and X/Twitter. No other social media sites were included in the analysis, and the analysis was mostly limited to their policies, both for internal company management and for the platforms themselves.

The report emphasizes how the analyzed sites are failing to protect their LGBTQ+ users, and are often flooded with hateful rhetoric. This is especially prevalent on X.

TikTok made the most improvements out of any social media site, largely due to revised anti-discrimination policies and better protections for users’ information.

Most of the sites examined had low quality policies against deadnaming and misgendering, a lack of transparency in how user accounts get restricted, advertising that may have targeted LGBTQ+ identities, failures to give employees adequate training, and a lack of employment diversity data.

GLAAD’s report largely focused on how online hate can affect the offline world, including claims that LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies are “groomers” looking to “indoctrinate” children. Grooming began as a term to describe winning a child’s trust in order to sexually abuse them, but social media has extended the being directed at educators, LGBTQ+ people, and drag queens in the real world, leading to threats against them.

GLAAD also cited Chaya Raichik’s Libs of TikTok account, which has been linked to bomb threats around the country following her social media posts, which often villify the LGBTQ+ community.

The report also discusses enforcement issues with the social media sites, though this was not the report’s primary subject. Instead, enforcement is just one component GLAAD uses for assessing each site’s scorecard. 

For instance, the report assesses whether companies make public how much anti-LGBTQ+ content they take down, or how many LGBTQ+ users wrongfully get taken down and targeted.

“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,” says Ellis in a letter introducing the report.

The report also gives recommendations for social media giants: strengthen their policies, improve content moderation and enforcement, be transparent, and stop privacy violations. These provide a sense of optimism on how LGBTQ+ advocates can improve the future of these media giants.

Ellis concludes, “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.”

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