With millions of anti-gay slurs on Twitter every year, is the platform safe for LGBT+ users?
Millions of anti-gay slurs are issued on Twitter every year – so is Twitter up to the task of weeding out and stamping out homophobia?
Granted there’s been a massive fall from the homophobia seen at its peak in 2013, but millions of slurs are still being published on Twitter every year. NoHomophobe.com has been tracking four commonly used slurs, “faggot”, “No Homo”, “So Gay” and “Dyke” since 2012.
Today the website has tracked over 38 million instances of the word “faggot”, 13 million uses of the words “No Homo”, 12 million uses of the term “So Gay” and over 6 million uses of the word “Dyke”.
The website was created by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, at the University of Alberta, to “show the prevalence of casual homophobia in our society”, back in 2012.
Although there has been a decrease, there are spikes in the usage of these harmful words. For instance, just before Donald Trump’s win as President in the 2016 US Election, Twitter saw a surge in the word “faggot”.
Indeed, there are countless stories of LGBT+ celebrities suffering homophobic abuse, and then there are the celebs themselves who are caught with homophobia on their timelines, like Stormzy, Jack Maynard, Josh Rivers and Amir Khan.
In recent months, however, the word “Dyke” has seen a dramatic increase in usage.
What is Twitter doing about it?
Twitter does have policies in place to protect its community, but does it go far enough?
Twitter says, “We will review and take enforcement action against accounts that target an individual, group of people, or a protected category with any of the following behavior [sic] in their profile information, i.e., usernames, display names, or profile bios”.
Abusive slurs, racism and misogyny are explicitly cited, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not.
Twitter also, however, notes that it will not act upon insults in its policy.
So does Twitter really have a handle on hate directed towards the LGBT+ community?