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Meta Profited From 'Groomer' Slur on Instagram & Facebook: Report

Meta Profited From 'Groomer' Slur on Instagram & Facebook: Report

Phone screen with Meta sign and then icons with Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp icons as well
Image via Shutterstock

A new Media Matters report highlights how Meta made money off content that violated its own policies against hate speech.


Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has profited off of advertisements that use the anti-LGBTQ+ slur, “groomer,” despite the term violating the corporation’s content policies, according to a new report.

Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog group, found that Meta allowed more than 200 ads across its platforms that falsely painted the LGBTQ+ community as dangerous because they are sexualizing children.

Last July, Meta acknowledged that the term “groomer” violated the platform’s policy against hate speech, but since then, the company has continued running previously identified ads containing the hateful rhetoric and 63 new ones, Media Matters reports.

In recent years, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment has been stoked by right-wing misuse of the term and in what advocates have said are Republican legislative efforts to strip LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender people, of their rights.

After Media Matters highlighted more than 150 instances of “groomer” hate speech in ads on Meta platforms in September, the company removed 47 for violating advertising policies, according to the watchdog.

Since the group’s last report in October, Meta has allowed 63 advertisements that contain anti-LGBTQ+ language that violates the social media giant’s policies.

“Meta continues to allow nearly 70% of the ‘groomer'-related ads that we identified in our previous reports, including ads from politicians, who are not subject to the same level of fact-checking that applies to other content and advertisements on the platforms,” the report states.

The ads are from far-right groups and Republican political candidates and vary in their approach, but they all paint LGBTQ+ people as deviant.

A number of ads refer to or promote Gays Against Groomers, a group run by a lesbian far-right activist in conjunction with conservative strategists out of Florida. The organization claims to be a grassroots organization, but that is not the case, according to an investigation by Media Matters.

One of these ads on Meta's platforms appears in the pay-for-play publication The Southern California Record. The ad links to an article describing Gays Against Groomers as an “LGBTQ organization that opposes child gender reassignment surgery and pedophilia.”


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Christopher Wiggins