Facebook will be the first-ever social media network to receive a GLAAD Media Award when it is honored with a Special Recognition Award at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards this Saturday for the company’s strong stand and leadership around bullying prevention as well as its inclusive options for LGBT users.
After violent anti-gay images and comments were posted on a memorial page for LGBT youth, Facebook worked with GLAAD to monitor the highly visible page and launched, in conjunction with several LGBT organizations, the Network of Support. Facebook's Andrew Noyes and Sara Sperling, who will accept the award on behalf of Facebook, were instrumental in the creation of the Network of Support, which serves in a consultative capacity to help the company effectively address issues faced by the LGBT community. Through the Network of Support, Facebook partners with GLAAD; MTV; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); the Trevor Project; the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
High school student Brittany McMillan will present the award. McMillan launched the idea for Spirit Day in 2010 and began working with GLAAD on the annual event which inspires millions of participants to wear purple or change their Facebook photo to purple in support of LGBT youth and to stand up against bullying. Facebook was among companies that participated last year.
Facebook's leadership on anti-bullying initiatives was also recognized with an invitation to participate in the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. There, the company announced it was seeking feedback from teenagers on bullying prevention, aired a special "Facebook Live" broadcast, and unveiled new tools that allow abuse reports to be handled more efficiently.
Other industry-leading steps Facebook has taken include:
- In September, Facebook launched the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign with Time-Warner, which empowers students, educators and parents to help prevent bullying. That campaign launched across Latin America this week.
- GLAAD and the Network of Support worked with Facebook to give users the options to select "In a Civil Union" and "In a Domestic Partnership," recognizing the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples.
- Additionally, Facebook was among corporate leaders that participated in Spirit Day with GLAAD by encouraging employees to turn Facebook photos purple and wear the color on October 20 as a sign of support for LGBT youth.
- Facebook also added Help Center content that provides specific guidance on how users can help an LGBT person who has posted suicidal material and introduced special reporting procedures for LGBT youth in cooperation with the Trevor Project and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.