Late last year, I announced the publication of a study I participated in with Dr. Evan Brody and UK PhD student Mehroz Sajjad where we examined LGBTQ+-friendly spaces on the Gab social media platform. Although that was the main focus of our research project, we also found as we were completing it that there were a number of LGBTQ+-friendly spaces that had been overrun by queerphobic activity and discourses. I’m happy to announce that our second paper, focusing on those specific spaces, has just been published in the Journal of Homosexuality. Here’s the abstract:
This article presents a critical discourse analysis of groups on the free speech social media platform Gab that were intended to be LGBTQ+-friendly but became spaces of queerphobia. Results indicate that Gab users deployed discourses of difference to situate the platform as heteronormative and to denigrate the LGBTQ+ community. In particular, discourses utilized in the name of free speech were used to establish LGBTQ+ individuals as abominations, undergird hegemonic masculinity, and marginalize queer folk by reducing them to sex acts and sex organs. This study provides a better understanding of the (in)efficacy of “free speech” as a content moderation policy and unpacks how anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech spreads in digital spaces.
If you’re interested in the study and don’t have access through a library, you can grab one of 50 free copies from this link. I’ve also been meaning to upload preprints of my research to my website, so I’ll have to circle back to that project soon so that you can also access the research that way.
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