By Ava Lee-Green

With billions of people worldwide checking their tailored social media feeds daily, platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have created spaces for necessary discussions about equality. Despite challenges with the spread of disinformation, social media has quickly become a critical tool for enacting change. 

Spreading awareness

Photo by Norbu GYACHUNG on Unsplash

Today, many people, especially teenagers and young adults, check social media as part of their daily routine. Whether scrolling through TikTok and Instagram for entertainment or checking the news to stay up to date on the latest political issues, media has become one of the main ways people can learn.

Now that it is Pride Month, many social media users have begun to spread awareness about the breakthroughs and setbacks the LGBTQ+ community is currently facing. This includes TikTok accounts such as @genzforchange and @underthedesknews, which report on new legislation and court cases that affect the LGBTQ+ community, as well as others like @joshhelfgott who starts all videos with “Gay news!” and provide insight into both heartwarming stories and information about policies that could threaten the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Most of all, social media has become a platform for visibility. It is a place for people within the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their successes together, and see that many others have had the same experiences and faced similar challenges. 

The challenges of disinformation

Like anywhere on the internet, social media is plagued with disinformation that aims to mislead audiences. Nowadays, many people scroll from video to video, taking in the information presented without considering the source and the message it aims to convey. 

As a social media user myself, I have seen it happen all too often when an account “clickbaits” its audience by presenting a misleading headline without discussing the article's contents. The misinformation is then spread when people then take these videos as facts and post about them to their followers.

This can be extremely harmful to many minority communities, especially to the LGBTQ+ community. As a community that is currently fighting for basic equality on the legislative level, people’s misinformed opinions hurt progress on the social level.

A global influence

Social media has allowed people to connect around the world. With the help of large platforms like Instagram and Twitter, large gatherings like annual Pride parades have been organized around the world. This has allowed the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to rapidly educate and celebrate this diverse community.

Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

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