GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced that more than 250 LGBTQ and ally actors, notables, and other leaders signed a public letter created by GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) calling on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter to better enforce hate speech, harassment, misinformation, and other existing content policies aimed at protecting transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming users and all LGBTQ people.

The full letter and list of signatories can be found here.

The celebrities, influencers, and prominent public figures include: Alyssa Milano, Alan Cumming, ALOK, Amber Ruffin, Amy Landecker, Amy Schumer, Angelica Ross, Annaleigh Ashford, Ariana Grande, Arisce Wanzer, Avan Jogia, Barbie Ferreira, Bebe Rexha, Bella Ramsey, Ben Barnes, Benito Skinner, Bethany Cosentino, Billy Eichner, Billy Porter, Bobby Berk, Bretman Rock, Brian Michael Smith, Busy Philipps, Camila Cabello, Cara Delevingne, Chella Man, Cheyenne Jackson, Christa Miller, Chris Perfetti, Colton Haynes, Cynthia Erivo, Cynthia Nixon, Dan Levy, Diane Guerrero, D’Arcy Carden, Debra Messing, Demi Lovato, Dylan Mulvaney, Eleganca Bratton, Elliot Page, Emily Hampshire, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Gigi Gorgeous, Glennon Doyle, Griffin Dunne, Hailey Baldwin Bieber, Hannah Gadsby, Hayley Kiyoko, Hayley Williams, Ilana Glazer, Indya Moore, Isaac Mizrahi, Jameela Jamil, James Scully, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janelle Monae, Jai Rodriguez, Jaymes Vaughan, Jazz Jennings, Jenna Lyons, Jessica Betts, Jonathan Bennett, Jonathan Van Ness, Jinkx Monsoon, JP Saxe, Judd Apatow, Justin Baldoni, Kal Penn, Karamo, Katherine LaNasa, Kendrick Sampson, Kevin Cahoon, Kristin Chenoweth, Lachlan Watson, Laith Ashley, Lauren Jauregui, Laverne Cox, Lena Dunham, Lena Waithe Lily Rabe, Lily Singh, Liv Hewson, Liza Koshy, Lola Tung, Mae Martin, Mae Whitman, Mandy Patinkin, Martha Plimpton, Matt Bernstein, Matt McGorry, Meena Harris, Michaela Jae Rodriguez, Michelle Buteau, Niecy Nash Betts, Nico Santos, Nicole Maines, Nik Dodani, Olly Alexander, Padma Lakshmi, Patrick Stewart, Patti LuPone, Peppermint, Rafael Silva, Ramy Youssef, Raquel Willis, Rosario Dawson, Sam Smith, Sara Bareilles, Sasha Velour, Scott Turner Schofield, Sia, Shawn Mendes, Shea Coulee, Shea Diamond, Sherri Saum, Taika Waititi, Tatiana Maslany, Tommy Dorfman, Wilson Cruz, Zoe Chao, Zooey Deschanel, and many more.

GLAAD collaborated with acclaimed writer, performer, and media personality ALOK on outreach for the letter.

“True allies do not profit from anti-LGBTQ hate,” the letter begins. It continues: “There has been a massive systemic failure to prohibit hate, harassment, and malicious anti-LGBTQ disinformation on your platforms and it must be addressed. The very content you profit from is in violation of your own terms of service, which assert that you do not allow hate speech.”

Addressed to CEOs Mark Zuckerberg (Instagram and Facebook), Neal Mohan (YouTube), Shou Zi Chew (TikTok), and Linda Yaccarino & Elon Musk (Twitter), this powerful line-up of more than 250 LGBTQ people and allies call on each platform to urgently take action to protect trans and LGBTQ users by creating and enforcing stronger content and ad policies against hate speech and harassment, instituting better protections against over-enforcement and censorship, as well as meeting with community leaders and creators to hear about real world harms that result from anti-trans content.

Signers of the letter request that platforms create and share specific plans for addressing the following:

● Content that spreads malicious lies and disinformation about medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth. Such harmful content from high-follower hate-based accounts has resulted in extraordinary real-world harms, including bomb threats targeting children’s hospitals that offer healthcare for trans youth, and death threats targeting care providers. Specific mitigations on such hate-driven disinformation must be developed (for instance akin to election and COVID-19 mitigations and rules).

● Accounts and postings that perpetuate anti-LGBTQ extremist hate and disinformation, in violation of platform policies, and which target trans and LGBTQ people, including baseless and malicious disinformation of LGBTQ people being threats to children (e.g. the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” conspiracy theory). Such harmful and dangerous lies must be more effectively moderated and mitigated (a 2022 HRC and Center for Countering Digital Hate report showed that Facebook failed to remove 98% of anti-LGBTQ “groomer” ads).

● Dehumanizing, hateful attacks on prominent transgender public figures and influencers. Online attacks against LGBTQ organizations and individuals are on the rise. A recent report from GLAAD, UltraViolet, Kairos, and the Women’s March shows that 60% of LGBTQ people feel harmed not only from direct harassment and hate, but from witnessing harassment against other LGBTQ community members such as celebrities and public figures. Directing hate against LGBTQ public figures is a common vehicle for expressing general anti-LGBTQ bigotry. When companies maintain policy loopholes that allow such hate against public figures, this perpetuates harm against entire communities.

● Anti-transgender hate speech, including targeted misgendering, deadnaming, and other hate-driven tropes. Earlier this year, Twitter removed an explicit prohibition on targeted misgendering and deadnaming of trans people after first enacting the policy in 2018. Currently, TikTok explicitly prohibits targeted misgendering and deadnaming in its hate and harassment policy. Meta recently adopted a prohibition against targeted misgendering on Facebook and Instagram, though it requires direct reporting by the individual user and does not apply to public figures, and the company still does not disclose a similar policy related to targeted deadnaming. In 2021, GLAAD joined Media Matters for America and 18 other organizations in calling for YouTube to also address the practices in its hate speech policy.

Targeted misgendering and deadnaming have harmful real-world effects for the trans community. Targeted misgendering is the practice of intentionally referring to a transgender person with the wrong gender. Referring to a transgender person by their former name without their consent is often referred to as “deadnaming.” Studies have found that many trans people who have been misgendered face increased levels of psychological stress and depression. The practice of targeted misgendering and deadnaming has been identified as a form of hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other civil society groups, including GLAAD and Media Matters.

The call to action follows the release of GLAAD’s third annual Social Media Safety Index (SMSI), a report on LGBTQ user safety, privacy, and expression, earlier this month. All five major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter – received low and failing scores on GLAAD’s SMSI Platform Scorecard for the second consecutive year. The SMSI found that the 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, specifically, policies and commitments to protect transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people from being targeted.

GLAAD’s Platform Scorecard in the 2023 SMSI found Twitter as the most dangerous platform for LGBTQ people. Of the five major platforms included in the study, Twitter was the only platform with scores that declined from last year’s report. While other platforms showed slight improvements in scores, the report states that Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are still failing to sufficiently fulfill their commitments to LGBTQ users with regard to safety, privacy, and expression. Read the full report at:

From GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis:
“It’s about time that social media CEOs hear from leaders on their platforms whose content and creativity drive profits and revenue for them. It’s clear these creators and celebrities recognize that social media companies should be taking urgent action to address the pervasiveness and severity of viral hate and misinformation about LGBTQ, trans and gender nonconforming users, but instead such anti-LGBTQ content drives profits for the companies and is too often met with inaction. You can draw a direct line from online hate and misinformation about trans people to the hundreds of anti-trans bills across the U.S. as well as the rise in violence against LGBTQ people. Until social media platforms take real action, our community continues to be at risk.”

From Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson:
“For far too many LGBTQ+ people, their existence online is marred by rampant, unchecked disinformation and harassment that goes ignored by the very platforms, which directly benefit from their creativity, their content, and their stories. We’re living in a state of emergency, and it’s time that these social media platforms and tech giants take long-overdue action and actually enforce policies that ensure LGBTQ+ people do not face disproportionate harassment and hate simply for being who we are or loving who we love. Time and time again, we have seen that hate allowed to fester online can and will result in real-world consequences. It’s about time for social media platforms to take that seriously.”

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