An Irish company has launched a free tool aimed at combating homophobia online. The #LoveWins tool filters online content, searching webpages for homophobic or transphobic comments and replacing them with positive wording.
The tool was developed by the award-winning innovation studio Connector to celebrate Pride 2017.
Ivan Adriel, Connector’s Head of Digital, said the company developed the #LoveWins tool because of the high levels of online abuse targeted at LGBT people.
LGBT Experiences of Online Abuse
“The LGBT Ireland report published last year showed LGBT people continue to experience victimisation and harassment in their day-to-day lives,” he said.
“One in five LGBT people have had hurtful things written about their sexual identity on social media, with that figure rising to one in three for transgender and intersex people.
“Internationally, statistics from the US organisation GLSEN show 42 percent of LGBT youth have experienced cyberbullying; 58 percent have experienced negative online comments because of their sexuality, and over a third have received online threats.
“The high levels of online bullying and harassment can have a very negative impact on the mental health of LGBT people. Our #LoveWins filter is aimed at making the internet a more loving and tolerant place this Pride season, and protecting LGBT people from the unnecessary negativity and abuse that they are often subjected to online.
“The tool is designed to search web pages for LGBT+ slurs, and, when found, make them disappear by replacing them with positive adjectives celebrating what people in the community are: proud, courageous, fearless, friendly. The tool also decorates the replacement words with the Pride colours.
“Connector is a proud supporter of the LGBT community and, this Pride, we wanted to do something to help make the internet a better place for us all. So we created the tool we wished had existed when we were teenagers searching for our identity online.”
How the #LoveWins Tool Works
The #LoveWins tool is a Google Chrome extension that can be downloaded for free from www.connector.ie/pride. The tool does not interfere with your internet browser and it will never collect or transmit any information from users. To see a sample video of the tool in action, go to https://www.facebook.com/connector/videos/10154907715401026/.