87% of LGBTQ+ youth report hate and harassment online
‘It’s Our Social Media’ campaign highlights abuse experienced by LGBTQ+ youth online and theresponsibility of social media platforms to moderate hateful content.
Newly released figures from Belong To reveal that a shocking 87% of LGBTQ+ young people have seen or experienced anti-LGBTQ+ hate and harassment on social media in the past year.
LGBTQ+ youth demand that social media platforms take action against anti-LGBTQ+ content as part of ‘It’s Our Social Media’ a campaign by Belong To, Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ youth organisation.
Only 21% of LGBTQ+ youth who reported abusive or harmful LGBTQ+ content saw action from a social media platform; anti-LGBTQ+ content was removed in 12% of cases, 4% saw the offending user temporarily suspended, and 5% of reports resulted in the offending account being banned.
The remaining 79% of LGBTQ+ young people were either informed that no violation of community guidelines was found, or received no response from the platform.
These figures come just two weeks after the publication of ILGA Europe’s Annual Review, revealing that, in 2022, Europe saw the “deadliest rise in anti-LGBTI+ violence in over a decade”. ILGA Europe noted that the translation of hate speech into real-world, physical violence “is not only in countries where hate speech is rife, but also in countries where it is widely believed that LGBTI+ people are progressively accepted.”1
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, CEO of Belong To, Moninne Griffith (she/her), said:
“Through social media, LGBTQ+ young people can find community and friendship online when faced with offline isolation and bullying; develop new skills and hobbies from their favourite content creators; and be inspired by queer history and the work of LGBTQ+ activists across the globe.
However, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the rate of hateful, discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ content shared on social media platforms, and the direct targeting and harassment of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Our research with LGBTQ+ youth highlights the urgent need for social media platforms to be consistent and effective in implementing their community guidelines to prevent the spreading of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic content online.
We are so thankful to each and every LGBTQ+ young person who shared their experiences and expertise to create this campaign with Belong To. It’s our social media – together, we can change it.”
Devised and created by LGBTQ+ young people, the digital campaign gives LGBTQ+ youth a platform to demand change. The ‘It’s Our Social Media’ campaigns shines a light on the responsibility of social media platforms to moderate hateful, anti-LGBTQ+ content through comprehensive and consistent enforcement of community guidelines. The campaign calls for users to #FeedTheGood and #BlockTheBad on social media, to make platforms safer for LGBTQ+ youth.
This campaign was created with support from Google.org
Notes to Editors
- Belong To CEO, Moninne Griffith, is available for interview. To arrange an interview, please contact: Sinead Keane, Director of Communications and Advocacy. Mobile: 087 768 0389 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Photography available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QynBaKDmGQbb8RNsqwFtdRbvdpc25KJY?usp=share_link
- These results were collected as part of the 2022 School Climate Survey in partnership with Columbia University. These results relating to the online experiences of LGBTQ+ youth have not been shared until now. The final sample consists of 1,208 LGBTQ+ students between the ages of 13 and 20. All 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland are represented.
- Belong To, LGBTQ+ Youth Ireland is a national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) young people. Since 2003, Belong To has worked with LGBTQ+ youth to create a world where they are equal, safe, and thriving in the diversity of their identities and experiences. The organisation advocates and campaigns on behalf of LGBTQ+ young people and offers a specialised LGBTQ+ youth service including crisis counselling with Pieta, information, and the provision of LGBTQ+ youth groups across Ireland. Belong To supports educators and professionals working with LGBTQ+ youth.
- ILGA Europe. 2023. ‘2023 Annual Review’. Available at: https://ilga-europe.org/press-release/deadliest-rise-anti-lgbti-violence-decade/?s=&view=grid&documenttype=all&orderresultsby=priority&topics=inclusion-and-equality
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