Facebook will be the first social media company honored at the GLAAD Media Awards, hosted annually by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Representatives from Facebook will accept a Special Recognition Award at tonight’s event, held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in California.
This will be the 23rd Annual Media Awards for the notable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, recognizing fair and inclusive representations of the LGBT community in television, journalism, music and more.
GLAAD announced in March that Facebook would receive the award, citing the social media company’s efforts against bullying as well as the inclusion of various options — such as relationship statuses — for LGBT users of the social network.
Throughout the past two years, Facebook has taken many initiatives to promote and enable LGBT rights and equality. The company worked with GLAAD in October 2010 to monitor a memorial page for LGBT youth after users posted violent anti-gay images and comments. It also launched the Network of Support, a panel of five leading LGBT advocacy organizations with MTV’s A Thin Line campaign to help Facebook address LGBT issues.
More recently, Facebook launched the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign with Time Warner, which empowers students, teachers and parents to help prevent bullying. The campaign just launched across Latin America this week. Facebook also added Help Center content that provides guidance on how users can help an LGBT person who has posted suicidal content.
“Facebook has set the bar high for ensuring LGBT people have a safe space to connect with friends and family,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in a statement on Thursday. “GLAAD is pleased to present this award to Facebook in recognition of its efforts to make their platform welcoming to everyone.”
Brittany McMillan, the high school student who founded Spirit Day, will present the Special Recognition Award. Facebook was among leading companies that participated in Spirit Day on Oct. 20, 2011, encouraging employees to turn their Facebook profile pictures purple and wear the color to show support for LGBT youth.
Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s manager of public policy and communications, will accept the award on behalf of the company with Sara Sperling, head of diversity and inclusion. Noyes, who acts as the liaison between Facebook and LGBT groups, was influential in launching the Network of Support.
Although Facebook’s higher-up executives will not be in attendance, a recorded thank-you video from Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will be played at the awards.