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It Gets Better Steps Back From Twitter/X Over Hate Speech Concerns

It Gets Better Steps Back From Twitter/X Over Hate Speech Concerns

Group of queer teens; cell phone with X app on it with a Twitter icon background

It's become almost impossible to block hate speech on the platform, It Gets Better officials say.

The It Gets Better Project, which seeks to support and empower LGBTQ+ youth worldwide, says it is going to cease posting on Twitter, recently renamed X, because the platform is no longer a safe space.

“Unfortunately, Twitter/X is no longer a space where we can safely and effectively do this work, so we’re pausing all future content on the platform,” It Gets Better tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

The platform has recently been allowing hateful comments to rise to the top of the feed and has made it almost impossible to block hate speech, Ross von Metzke, senior director of communications and public relations at It Gets Better, told The Advocate.

“It’s gotten very TERF-y and anti-trans, very divisive,” he said. TERF stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”

For adults, it’s fairly easy to recognize and disregard hate speech, but officials at It Gets Better worry about the effects of this speech on young people, the primary audience the organization seeks to reach, von Metzke said.

It Gets Better will leave existing content on X but won’t post anything new unless the platform changes its policies, he said.

The Advocate has reached out to X for comment.

The organization will remain active on all other social media platforms. “None of them are perfect,” but they are better than X, von Metzke said. For instance, at one point TikTok severely limited the number of words that could be blocked as hate speech, but it expanded the list greatly after It Gets Better raised concerns, he said. “They listened,” he noted.

There have been other complaints about hate speech increasing on Twitter and now X since billionaire businessman Elon Musk took it over last year. The Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Anti-Defamation League both published reports in December citing rises in hate speech, with the Center for Countering Digital Hate focusing on racist, antigay, and anti-trans slurs, the Anti-Defamation League on anti-Semitism. And a report from GLAAD in June found that all five major social media sites, it was the least safe for LGBTQ+ users.

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