Reports: Facebook Still Allowing Pages to Promote 'Conversion Therapy' Despite Ban

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday July 19, 2020

Facebook and Instagram - the latter of which is owned by the former - announced on July 10 that both social media platforms would now ban all content promoting so-called "conversion therapy."

But less than a week later, reports called out Facebook for seemingly allowing content pushing the pseudoscientific practice to persist.

Media Matters reported on July 16 that several high-profile groups promoting the sham "therapy" continue to operate pages on Facebook.

Media Matters specified that the three groups are Voice of the Voiceless, Restored Hope Network, and International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice.

"If Facebook is serious about enforcing its new rule, it should begin by removing these three pages that regularly promote conversion therapy in posts and falsely suggest that it is effective," the Media Matters article said.

Practitioners of "conversion therapy" claim that prayer and talk therapy can "cure" or "convert" LGBTQ people into heterosexuals and cisgender people. Reputable mental health professionals have long condemned the practice and raised the alarm about the psychological and emotional toll the pseudo-scientific practice can exact on those who undergo it.

Critics and survivors of the practice liken it to torture, testify as to its utter lack of effectiveness, and say that it harms those who undergo it, making them more vulnerable to suffering and suicide.

In recent years a number of high-profile former advocates and practitioners of "conversion therapy" have defected from the movement and denounced the practice. Some have issued public apologies to those harmed by the quack practice.

Widespread concerns about the devastating effects of the ineffectual practice have led to bans in twenty states and multiple local jurisdictions on inflicting "conversion therapy" on minors. Mere days before Facebook and Instagram announced the ban, a report by a UN independent expert who specializes in LGBTQ-related discrimination and violence called for the end of "conversion therapy" everywhere in the world.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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