Instagram is banning all content promoting LGBT conversion therapy

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Instagram will from Friday ban any content promoting LGBT conversion therapy, the company told the BBC.
  • Conversion therapy applies to any practice which claims it can “cure” people of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been widely decried as false, unethical, and harmful by medical bodies.
  • Instagram already banned ads for conversion therapy earlier this year.
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Instagram has taken the decision to ban any content promoting so-called “conversion therapy” on its platform.

Conversion therapy is the name given to any practice which purports that people can be “cured” of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. These therapies are both unethical and harmful,” according to LGBTQ charity Stonewall.

Earlier in 2020, Instagram said it would ban any ads promoting conversion therapy. On Friday it went a step further, broadening this ban to any content promoting the practice.

“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,” Instagram’s EMEA public policy director Tara Hopkins told the BBC on Friday.

An Instagram spokesperson confirmed this to Business Insider.

Instagram told the BBC that while the ban would come into effect on Friday, it will take time to update its policies and so some content flagged by users may not be immediately removed.

In a statement to Business Insider, Hopkins said Instagram had already removed content from a British Christian organisation.

Instagram’s decision followed a recent campaign by activists in the UK to get the government to adhere to a promise it made in 2018 to ban the practice.

In June, independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity Victor Madrigal-Borloz called for a global ban on conversion therapy in a report submitted to the UN.

“Pathologization, demonization and criminalization of LGBT persons play a definitive role in perpetuating violence and discrimination,” Madrigal-Borloz said.