Every social network besides TikTok failed GLAAD's social media safety test

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Every major social media site flunked GLAAD’s LGBTQ safety test

A D+ was the highest grade.


Tricia Crimmins


Today, GLAAD released the findings of its 2024 Social Media Safety Index, a program where the LGBTQ media monitoring organization tests widely used social media platforms to see how well they protect the safety, privacy, and rights of queer individuals.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Threads, and X failed the test. TikTok received a D+.

GLAAD evaluated platforms on whether their policies state a commitment to protect the LGBTQ community and prohibit deadnaming, misgendering, or discriminatory advertising. It also looked for users’ ability to add pronouns in their profile and data protection policies that could prevent platforms from collecting and using individuals’ data related to their sexuality and gender.

The Social Media Safety Index report started in 2021. At the time, GLAAD stated the “entire sector” of social media was unsafe for LGBTQ users. The organization also called out the prevalence and intensity of anti-LGBTQ hate speech online, which it said was a “public health and safety issue.”

According to the report, TikTok—the highest-ranking platform with a score of 67 out of 100—does a good job of allowing LGBTQ users to control how much of their information is shared with the platform. TikTok doesn’t collect information from its users about their sexual orientation, which is a notable win given concerns over just how much data the app collects and previous reporting that TikTok tracked users who engaged with LGBTQ content.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese company. The app will be banned in the U.S. unless ByteDance sells TikTok to an American owner in the next year.

TikTok also doesn’t allow advertisers to target users based on their sexual orientation and has a policy prohibiting misgendering and deadnaming.

But TikTok earned a 67 for a reason: GLAAD recommended that the platform needs to be more transparent about instances of wrongful demonetization of LGBTQ content and creators and employ more LGBTQ people as a company.

And though TikTok’s D+ isn’t a good grade, it’s the highest grade a platform has received from any of GLAAD’s annual Social Media Safety Index reports—and 10 points higher than TikTok’s F+ grade last year.

Meta’s properties—Facebook, Instagram, and Threads—all scored below 60, earning each a grade of an “F.”

None of the platforms have policies that generally prohibit deadnaming and, according to GLAAD, it’s unclear how much information Meta collects on users’ sexual orientations and gender identities. While some users can put their pronouns in their Instagram and Threads profiles, the option isn’t available to everyone.

Just last month, GLAAD released another report on Meta specifically, where it found that the company fails to enforce the scant policies it does have to protect transgender users. And in the past, both Instagram and Facebook were found to have been blocking ads from queer accounts.

YouTube scored similarly to Meta’s platforms. Its 58 came from allowing users to add pronouns to their profile, but not having a policy that protects users from misgendering or deadnaming. GLAAD also reported that YouTube allows advertisers to avoid showing ads to users based on their identity, which Google, YouTube’s parent company, denies.

“Our policies clearly prohibit advertisers from using Google’s audience serving tools—including custom audiences—to target their ads based on a user’s sexual orientation or transgender identification,” a spokesperson for Google told the Daily Dot.

And like it did for TikTok, GLAAD recommended YouTube better address the “wrongful demonetization and removal of LGBTQ creators and their content.”

X, formerly known as Twitter, received the worst score from GLAAD—a 41 out of 100—by far. Though it protects against misgendering and deadnaming in Brazil to comply with local laws, X no longer protects against anti-trans harassment in the rest of the world.

GLAAD also found that X doesn’t train its moderators about the safety of marginalized communities, LGBTQ or otherwise, doesn’t provide an option to add pronouns to one’s profile, and doesn’t commit to employee diversity.

In the report, GLAAD said the myriad of ways social platforms neglect to protect LGBTQ individuals lead to real-world harm, like false allegations of grooming and indoctrination of children, and misinformation about gender-affirming care. Such real-world harm is reminiscent of the bomb threats connected to Chaya Raichik, who runs the anti-LGBTQ X account @LibsofTikTok.

“There is a direct relationship between online harms and the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ legislative attacks, rising rates of real-world anti-LGBTQ violence and threats of violence that social media platforms are responsible for,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement, “and should act with urgency to address.”

Though GLAAD offered specific solutions for each platform, there were unifying recommendations given to many of the social media giants, like publishing comprehensive data on how policies protecting LGBTQ users are enforced, amending policies to protect transgender users by not requiring them to “self-report” abuse, and universally adding the option to include pronouns in profiles.

The report also makes it evident that social media platforms have a long way to go if they want to truly protect and stand by their LGBTQ users—especially in an election year.

“An enormous amount of work lies ahead as we advocate for platforms to fulfill their commitments to LGBTQ safety, privacy, and expression,” GLAAD CEO Ellis said in the report. “Weaponized anti-LGBTQ hate and disinformation, and especially anti-trans hate, will continue to be an extraordinarily harmful and dangerous problem, and will no doubt escalate across social media leading up to the U.S. election in November.”

This post has been updated with comment from Google.

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