- Facebook and Instagram have banned all conversion therapy content.
- The conversion therapy ban is an expansion to its hate speech policies.
- Facebook may ban political ads from the US ahead of November elections.
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.
Facebook is also looking at banning political ads in the US ahead of elections in November. The potential being is only in the discussion stage and nothing has been finalised as of yet, Bloomberg noted.
However, if the decision to ban political ads does materialise, it could hurt the "get out the vote" campaigns, or limit a candidate's ability to respond widely to breaking news or new information.
As per the report, In the past 90 days, US President Donald Trump and former Vice President and presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden have spent a combined $29.2 million on ads, according to the company's self-reported data.
Alex Stamos, Facebook's former top security executive, said Friday that any political ad ban could benefit Trump. Stamos in a tweet wrote, "Eliminating online political ads only benefits those with money, incumbency, or the ability to get media coverage. Who does that sound like?"