A new report by Media Matters illustrates just how miserably Meta is failing in enforcing its Community Guidelines, particularly when it comes to anti-LGBTQ+ extremist group Gays Against Groomers. Despite being banned or suspended from other social media sites, Gays Against Groomers continues to spread hate speech on Meta-owned platforms Instagram, Facebook and Threads unabated.
After starting their Instagram account in June of 2022, Gays Against Groomers has posted over 1,000 times, according to Media Matters. The account presents itself as a group of concerned volunteers, but founder Jaimee Michell has long been professionally involved in right-wing politics. She had an advisory board seat on the “Trump Pride” campaign coalition and worked at X Strategies, a communications firm for right-wing figures. Shortly after that job, she started Gays Against Groomers, which the Anti-Defamation League has labeled an extremist group that “peddles dangerous and misleading narratives about the LGBTQ+ community.”
Gays Against Groomers has been banned from Google, Venmo and Paypal. But while Meta maintains Community Guidelines against hate speech, including the spreading of the anti-LGBTQ+ “groomer” slur, they have allowed Gays Against Groomers free reign on the platform. In addition to banning violating content, Meta pledges to label and limit inaccurate or misleading posts on the platform.
Media Matters documented an overwhelming number of posts in which Gays Against Groomers posted content that can have no other purpose but to promote hate and violence against the LGBTQ+ community. Gays Against Groomers has characterized gender-affirming care as mutilating children, they’ve peddled the debunked social contagion theory, they’ve made false claims that LGBTQ+ people are giving porn to children, they’ve referred to trans people as evil, and they’ve repeated the groomer slur ad nauseam.
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In response to the report, a Meta spokesperson gave a statement to The Advocate. “At Meta, we want to make sure our platforms are a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTQIA+ community, and we work hard to allow people freedom of voice while ensuring we minimize harm,” the spokesperson said. “We have a long history of engaging with global LGBTQIA+ community groups, stakeholders, and advocacy organizations, and when we identify content that violates our policies, we take appropriate action.”
However, Meta concluded that the Gays Against Groomers account was “non-violating.” “If someone were to use the term ‘groomer’ as an attack against someone based on being part of the LGBTQ+ community, it violates our hate speech policies,” the spokesperson added.
“We’ve seen loopholes in enforcement from Meta in the past,” Kayla Gogarty of Media Matters summed up. “I unfortunately don’t expect that to change here.”