GLAAD's Social Media Safety Index

By |
May 9, 2021

GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) marks the first-ever baseline evaluation of the LGBTQ user safety experience across the social media landscape. The Index provides recommendations for the industry at large and reports on LGBTQ user safety across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Read the full report here. 

In addition to the Social Media Safety Index, GLAAD also launched a Listing of Anti-LGBTQ Online Hate Speech as an additional ongoing tool and resource for achieving greater online safety. Modeled after the ADL’s Hate Symbols Database, this resource lists anti-LGBTQ conduct and content and creates accountability for the platforms to address it.

Key findings from the inaugural Social Media Safety Index include:

  • Surveying the current landscape of leading social media platforms, the entire sector is effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users.
  • Of special concern is the prevalence and intensity of hate speech and harassment, which stands out as the most significant problem in urgent need of improvement.
  • The problem of anti-LGBTQ hate speech and misinformation is a public health and safety issue.

GLAAD’s SMSI platform responsibility checklist calls for:

  • Greater protection of LGBTQ users in community guidelines
  • Improved content moderation (and multiple related and overlapping areas including hate speech and misinformation mitigation, enforcement, transparency and accountability, user-reporting systems, self-expression, etc.)
  • Mitigating algorithmic bias and bias in artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Addressing privacy and outing (including data-privacy & micro-targeting)
  • Overall transparency and accountability
  • LGBTQ hiring, inclusion and leadership
  • Engagement of independent researchers and social scientists
  • Engagement of affected users/communities, especially underrepresented groups
  • Promotion of civil discourse

Throughout 2021 and beyond, the SMSI will serve as a tool and resource for social media platforms — driving forward GLAAD’s mission of achieving LGBTQ platform safety. GLAAD will also continue to spotlight new and existing safety issues facing LGBTQ users in real-time both directly to the platforms and to the press and public. 

The Social Media Safety Index was created with support from the Gill Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. A comprehensive appendix and list of citations from the Social Media Safety Index can be found here.