In an open letter, a coalition of tech accountability and social justice organizations led –Media Matters for America and GLAAD — called on YouTube to strengthen its policies around harassment such as deadnaming and misgendering of trans people. The letter accompanies the release of new research from Media Matters that identified high-profile examples of misgendering and deadnaming of trans people on YouTube that have accumulated millions of views from right-wing personalities such as Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, Michael Knowles, and The Hodgetwins.
By contrast with YouTube, the coalition notes that since Twitter updated its hateful conduct policy in 2018 to prohibit “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.,” YouTube has fallen behind Twitter’s efforts according to GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index.
In January, a separate report from The Wilson Center identified a variety of transphobic narratives commonly employed in disinformation in a look at genderized harassment and targeting of women, including political elites.
Organizational signers of the open letter include Accountable Tech, Athlete Ally, Center for Countering Digital Hate, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Equality Federation, Free Press, Friends of the Earth, Gender Equity Policy Institute, GLAAD, Media Matters for America, MediaJustice, NARAL, National Black Justice Coalition, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Equality Action Team (NEAT), ParentsTogether, PFLAG National, Reproaction, SumOfUs, and UltraViolet.
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.