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Meta’s Inadequate Response to Anti-Trans Hatred on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads: A GLAAD Report

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Facebook, Instagram, and Threads’ parent company, Meta, were accused in a stinging study by GLAAD of not doing enough to stop the widespread spread of hate speech against transgender people on its platforms. The LGBTQ community is left open to prejudice and violence by Meta, even though the company has explicit standards prohibiting this kind of content.

The study, which covers the period from June 2023 to March 2024, painstakingly records many incidents of hate speech directed at transgender people on Meta’s apps. Surprisingly, GLAAD discovered that even while these messages were reported, Meta frequently chose to ignore them as non-violent or did nothing about them. Due to this carelessness, damaging content—such as aggressive speech, anti-transphobic remarks, and support for conversion therapy—is allowed to spread unchallenged.

Furthermore, GLAAD draws attention to the fact that a number of the postings that were reported came from well-known accounts with substantial Facebook and Instagram followings. This highlights the seriousness of the situation and the pressing need for Meta to put all users’ safety and wellbeing—regardless of gender identity—first.

The study provides insight into Threads, Meta’s newest platform, where the business sought to control the dissemination of “political” and “potentially sensitive” information. But according to GLAAD’s research, hate speech against trans people has also found its way into this purportedly controlled area, underscoring Meta’s disregard for its own rules.

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO and President of GLAAD, expressed her dismay with no holds held, saying, “It is simply unacceptable that the company continues to fail to enforce their own policies against anti-LGBTQ, and especially anti-trans hate.” This emotion is in keeping with the disgust and dismay that many LGBTQ people feel when they see the hate and prejudice they continue to face online.

Meta has not responded meaningfully to the report’s accusations, and has mainly kept mute on the subject despite repeated requests for responsibility. This quiet reminds me of other times when Meta has come under fire for taking a slack stance against hate speech directed at the LGBTQIA+ community.

Last year, Meta faced scrutiny from its own Oversight Board, which urged the company to enhance the accuracy of its enforcement measures concerning hate speech directed at the LGBTQIA+ community. However, little progress appears to have been made, as evidenced by GLAAD’s recent findings.

As the debate surrounding online safety and accountability rages on, it is imperative for Meta to heed these warnings and take concrete steps to address the pervasive issue of anti-trans hate speech on its platforms. Failure to do so not only perpetuates harm but also erodes trust in Meta’s ability to create a safe and inclusive online environment for all users.

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