Gay Issues

Facebook Joins Battle Against Bullying

| by GLAAD

The White House is continuing its unprecedented efforts to build acceptance in communities and schools across the country by holding a conference on bullying. Over 150 students, teachers and community leaders are present at the conference to discuss solutions to reduce harassment of young people.

In a statement released earlier today, President Obama said,  “if there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.  It’s not. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people.  And it’s not something we have to accept. As parents and students; teachers and communities, we can take steps that will help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe.”

The White House also acknowledge several efforts by communities, organizations, schools and the private sector to reduce bullying. Among those are Facebook’s new tools: a stronger system to report and remove bullying and offensive content and an improved safety center.

According to Mashable, when reporting content, users will not only have the option to privately message those who posted the content but also include an authoritative figure such as a parent or teacher. As part of it’s safety center, Facebook will include resources such as video content from experts and downloadable materials that can be used to discuss the importance of creating a safe online environment.

Facebook is seeking feedback from teenagers on ways to improve its anti-bullying efforts and acknowledges the importance of creating a safe environment for all. In a statement to Mashable, Facebook’s Public Policy Communications Manager Andrew Noyes said that after the suicides of several gay teenagers in September, “There was hightened awareness around LGBT bullying…We’ve certainly talked to our Network of Support and safety advisory board, and they’re very excited about these features.”

In October 2010, Facebook partnered with GLAAD and other national LGBT organizations to create “Network of Support,” an educational initiative that works to combat anti-LGBT cyberbullying. The Network of Support is comprised of LGBT advocacy organizations, including GLAAD, GLSEN, HRC, PFLAG and The Trevor Project, in conjunction with MTV’s “A Thin Line” campaign.