Facebook and Instagram announced a ban on all gay conversion therapy content on the social media platforms. The conversion therapy attempts at forcefully changing an individual’s sexual orientation. The ban is an expansion of the recent change in policy that promotes conversion therapy, a spokesperson told The Verge.
Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in a statement to CNN said, “We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”
She further said that Instagram has removed content from a religious group in the UK called the Core Issues Trust which promoted conversion therapy. “We have removed violating content from @coreissuestrusttv. We are always reviewing our policies and will continue to consult with experts and people with personal experiences to inform our approach,” Hopkins said.
Conversion therapy is banned or considered illegal in at least 19 US states, to protect minors but it remains legal at the federal level in the US. It also practiced in many areas of Europe. Studies have shown that gay conversion therapy leads to depression, drug use, homelessness, and suicide among young adults, many of whom are subjected to it without their consent.
Instagram has said that the ban is applicable worldwide as part of the expansion of hate speech policies. The content ban on conversion therapy is aimed at shutting down organizations in Africa, Europe, the US, and other regions trying to advertise or promote the practice online. Germany is the only place where conversion therapy is banned, the report noted.