GLAAD Announces Social Media Safety Index to Rate Social Media Platforms on Safety for LGBTQ Community

February 26, 2021

Tech leaders including Kara Swisher, Maria Ressa, Dr. Sarah T. Roberts, Brandi-Collins Dexter, Lucy Bernholz to Advise on Project

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced plans for its newest initiative, the GLAAD Social Media Safety Index. The first-of-its-kind report will rate social media platforms on how safe they are for LGBTQ users and provide recommendations for policy and product updates. The inaugural Index will launch in Spring 2021 and is supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and the Gill Foundation.

More info available here. 

“Social media is a lifeline for LGBTQ people, but too often we face real harm that goes unchecked by the platforms,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “LGBTQ policies and product updates have long been low on priority lists, even as the tech industry is finally waking up to the issues that marginalized communities face on their platforms. Drawing on GLAAD’s proven track record of leveraging similar reports and programs to advance LGBTQ inclusion in Hollywood, our Social Media Safety Index will hold social media platforms accountable and provide a roadmap for creating safer and more inclusive online spaces.”

GLAAD’s annual reports in the television and film industries are known for holding networks and studios accountable and have directly resulted in new inclusive series and films. GLAAD is expanding this work to similarly hold social media platforms accountable and provide a roadmap to improve LGBTQ user experience. The GLAAD Social Media Safety Index will shine a spotlight on the issue of online safety for LGBTQ people and serve as a valuable catalyst for accountability and change — analyzing current content and advertising policies as well as documenting misinformation, hate speech, privacy, and other issues that LGBTQ people uniquely face.

The Social Media Safety Index will present a distillation of thought leadership in the field gleaned from conversations with leading tech experts. Tech leaders serving on the advisory committee for the project include:  

  • Kara Swisher, contributing writer and host of the ‘Sway’ podcast at The New York Times; co-host of Pivot podcast at New York Media
  • Maria Ressa, Journalist & CEO, Rappler
  • Brandi Collins-Dexter, Visiting Research Fellow, Shorenstein Center and Senior Fellow, Color of Change
  • Dr. Sarah T. Roberts, Co-Director, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry
  • Marlena Wisniak, Co-Director, Taraaz
  • Lucy Bernholz, Director, Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University
  • Liz Fong-Jones, Principal Developer Advocate for SRE & Observability, Honeycomb
  • Leigh Honeywell, CEO and Co-Founder, Tall Poppy
  • Jenni Olson, co-founder & Senior Project Consultant
  • Rich Ferraro, GLAAD Chief Communications Officer

GLAAD has a long history of advocating for LGBTQ safety and inclusion across social media, having consulted directly with social media platforms on some of the most significant policy and product updates. GLAAD is a current member of Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council and Facebook’s Network of Support, an advisory coalition it helped create.

Plans for a launch panel and event will be announced in coming weeks.