Instagram has announced that it will be banning of all content that including posts and videos that promote conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a discredited practice that attempts to forcefully change an individual’s sexual orientation.
A Facebook spokesperson told that The Verge that this decision to ban conversion therapy posts is an expansion of an earlier rule that specifically banned ads that promoted conversion therapy and was put in place earlier this year for the platforms. The updated policy now includes a ban on any content that promotes the practice too.
The spokesperson has confirmed that this ban applies to both Instagram and Facebook. Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s public policy director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement to CNN that they do not allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or their gender identity and are updating their policies to ban the promotion of all conversion therapy services.
Hopkins was responding to conversion therapy content being promoted by a religious group from the UK called Core Issues Trust. She added that the platform had removed content from @coreissuestrusttv. Conversion therapy is banned or considered illegal in at least 19 US states, particularly to protect minors. However, at the federal level in the US it still remains legal and is allowed in many parts of Europe. Gay conversion therapy is mostly pushed by religious organisations and this ‘pseudo-science’ has no basis in fact.
Studies show that conversion therapy, which is forced in the most cases with young adults being subjected to it without their consent, is directly linked to higher rates of drug use, depression, homelessness and suicide. Instagram said that this ban on posts and videos applies worldwide and is a part of the platform, and the parent company’s, expansion of their global hate speech policies.
Only Germany has a law of bans the practice for minors, and Facebook and Instagram’s share content ban on gay conversion therapy posts should help shut down organisations in Europe, Africa, the US and other regions that are trying to promote it online.