This week, GLAAD received several incident reports about an article published to Yahoo! Music's 'Reality Rocks' blog featuring an interview with openly gay recording artist Adam Lambert.
Our constituents alerted us to a number of hateful comments, many of which promoted anti-gay violence. One commenter wrote, "This is why a concentration camp is needed for homosexuals," while another said he wished Lambert would die by suicide.
Perhaps most disturbingly, one commenter posted, "It would make my day if someone was to do to him what those men did to Matthew Shepard," an openly gay University of Wyoming student who was brutally murdered in a bias-motivated crime in 1998.
While many comments supported Lambert and the gay community, GLAAD counted 83 of the article's 279 visible comments (29.7%) that were in violation of Yahoo's Terms of Service.
GLAAD reached out to Yahoo! and alerted the company. In response, Yahoo! quickly suspended all commenting on this post and will continue to work with GLAAD on addressing the issue of comments that violate Terms of Service by promoting hatred and violence toward LGBT people.
"Young music fans should be able to interact and comment on sites without seeing violent, hateful comments directed at LGBT people," said GLAAD's Director of Digital Initiatives, Allison Palmer. "Yahoo! did the right thing by taking immediate action to enforce their Terms of Service, setting an important example for other leading websites and tech companies."
We believe that comments, viewpoints and dialogue are important. It is our hope that we can achieve a commenting system on Yahoo! and other sites where such violent and hateful posts are not parts of the conversation.
Yahoo! stated that the company “does not allow content that promotes hatred against users or groups of users. Protected categories include, but are not limited to race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Yahoo! takes issues like this very seriously. We provide methods for users to report content that they believe to be abusive. Yahoo! reviews these reports and takes appropriate action according to our Terms of Service.”
Both Yahoo! and GLAAD urge users to report violent, hateful comments to site administrators.
Additionally, Yahoo! Safely helps users make smarter and safer choices online and get advice on how to use Yahoo! products safely. See the most frequently asked questions about digital safety here. Also, check out a few examples that showcase Yahoo!'s commitment to efforts against cyber-bullying and anti-LGBT bullying:
Social Web Tips for Teens
Tips to Hel Prevent Cyberbullying
Yahoo!’s work on Spirit Day and GLAAD’s resource to help prevent LGBT cyberbullying
Yahoo!’s work to support The Trevor Project’s ‘Talk to Me’ campaign – which encourages allies of LGBT youth to identify themselves as supportive listeners
In 2010, GLAAD began similar work with Facebook, which developed into the 'Network of Support,' an educational initiative that works to put an end to anti-LGBT cyberbullying and includes other LGBT and youth organizations.
GLAAD thanks Yahoo! for taking swift action and continuing its work to create an online space where users can comment and interact safely. We also thank the concerned constituents who alerted us to this situation, and we encourage our constituents to report any similar issues to us in the future. And remember to Like Yahoo! Pride on Facebook!