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Most Facebook content on trans issues is from right-wing, ‘biased and factually inaccurate’ sources, study finds

Lily Wakefield July 21, 2020
trans facebook content

Out of the top 10 pieces of content on trans issues, nine were from right-leaning outlets. (Chris Jackson/Getty)

Two thirds of Facebook interactions on content discussing trans issues were earned by right-leaning and anti-trans sources, a study has found.

The Media Matters for America study analysed 225 pieces of Facebook content that earned more than 100,000 interactions – for example reactions, comments and shares – published between February 15, 2019, and February 15, 2020.

This content earned a total of nearly 66 million interactions, but 65.7 per cent of those interactions were with posts from right-leaning sources, the study found.

(Media Matters for America)

In contrast, queer outlets earned just 15.4 per cent of the total interactions, non-aligned sources earned 10.4 per cent and left-leaning sources earned 3.9 per cent.

Of the top 10 sources of trans news and content on Facebook, seven were right-leaning and anti-trans content producers, including Daily Wire, founded by Ben Shapiro, the anti-abortion LifeSiteNews and anti-LGBT+ legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.

The remaining three were queer news outlets – PinkNews, Gay Star News, and NBC Out.

Of all 225 pieces of content studied, the one that earned most interactions (more than 2.77 million) was from Alliance Defending Freedom, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT+ hate group, on its clients who filed federal discrimination complaint to stop trans youth competing in sports. 

Out of the top 10 pieces of content, nine were from right-leaning outlets.

(Media Matters for America)

This is a serious problem, according to Media Matters LGBTQ program director Brennan Suen, as the Pew Research Center found last year that 52 per cent of Americans get their news from Facebook.

He told NBC News: “Facebook users are getting a totally biased and factually inaccurate understanding of the multitude of issues that impact trans people.”

Suen said anti-transgender content that “lies about best practice medical care for trans youth” could “enable adults to do harm to their own children and deprive trans youth of affirmation and care that can be life saving”.

“Transphobic discourse online contributes to this dangerous rejection of trans children, real world harassment of trans people and harmful policies – and it contributes to a social and political culture that continues to demonise and fail the trans community,” Suen added.

More: 2018 Evolution Championship Series, Alliance Defending Freedom, Facebook, Media Matters for America, PinkNews, trans rights, transphobia

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