General News

Munroe Bergdorf calls for social media platforms to tackle transphobia

Rachel Badham February 17, 2021

London-based model, writer and trans activist, Munroe Bergdorf, has called for social media platforms to tackle transphobic cyberbullying after online abuse led her to quit Twitter. Bergdorf posted a statement on Instagram, saying: “I’ve deleted my Twitter account. No one should have to endure even a fraction of the abuse that I am exposed to and have to put up with on a daily basis. If you can design algorithms to identify Covid-19 vaccine misinformation then you can combat transphobia. It’s clearly a matter of won’t, rather than can’t.”

She concluded: “[I’m] Tired of being a punching bag. Twitter is not a safe app for transgender people.” Bergdorf then told Reuters that social media corporations need to pay greater attention to the increasing amount of transphobic hate speech on their platforms: “If you can censor a nipple and a picture gets taken down with a nipple on it straight away…then why can’t you develop an algorithm that targets transphobic speech or racism? If you’re only investing in cis white men, or cis white people, to write the algorithms then there’s a huge oversight there when it comes to lived experience and the nuance of hate speech.”

A Twitter spokesperson insisted the corporation would not tolerate online hate speech, saying: “We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.” Twitter’s hateful conduct policy states users must “not promote violence against or directly attack” people based on a handful of factors, including gender/gender identity.