GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, announced on Thursday that its third annual Social Media Safety Index found that all five major social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter — received low or failing scores on its platform scorecard for the second year in a row — with Twitter receiving the lowest grade in its ability to protect LGBTQ+ users.
“These platforms continue to fail at enforcing the safeguarding of LGBTQ users from online hate speech, fail at providing transparency in the use of LGBTQ-specific user data and fail in expressing commitments to protecting LGBTQ users,” the organization wrote on Twitter.
In particular, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming users are subject to hate speech and harassment on social media, the report found.
According to GLAAD, “the SMSI Platform Scorecard offers an evaluation of LGBTQ safety, privacy, and expression on five major platforms…based on 12 LGBTQ-specific indicators,” which include the ability for users to add pronouns to their bios, public disclosure that a platform does not recommend content to a user based on their inferred gender identity or sexual orientation without their explicit consent and internal corporate structures to actualize the protection of LGBTQ users from harm.
Twitter received only a 33% score this year, down 12 points since Elon Musk took over the platform in 2022, while all other platforms improved their score from the previous year. By contrast, Instagram scored 63%, Instagram 61%, TikTok 57% and YouTube 54% score on the 2023 report.
The SMSI identified issues of inadequate content moderation and enforcement across the board, “harmful” algorithms, and a general “lack of transparency and accountability across the industry, among many other issues — all of which disproportionately impact LGBTQ users and other marginalized communities who are uniquely vulnerable to hate, harassment, and discrimination.”
“Dehumanizing anti-LGBTQ content on social media such as misinformation and hate have an outsized impact on real world violence and harmful anti-LGBTQ legislation, but social media platforms too often fail at enforcing their own policies regarding such content,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah-Kate Ellis.
Additional key findings in the 2023 SMSI include anti-LGBTQ+ online rhetoric leading to harm in offline life, anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech is “an alarming public health and safety issue” and platforms across the board are guilty of a lack of transparency in how they report. Platforms were also found to disproportionately suppress LGBTQ+-centered content through demonitization and content removal.
The SMSI includes “key recommendations” for each of the platforms to improve the climate for LBGTQ+ users.
On Twitter, attacks on LGBTQ+ users have increased substantially since Musk took over, according to a combined report by Media Matters and GLAAD. The report found that retweets of posts from anti-LGBTQ+ accounts that contained “groomer” rhetoric increased over 1200% since Musk’s purchase of Twitter.
In April, Twitter removed a policy against the “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”