Facebook announced on Friday (10) the ban on content that promotes “conversion therapy”, based on the baseless theory that homosexuals can change their sexual orientation through psychological or spiritual intervention.
Facebook and its social network Instagram are updating policies to require the removal of content that directly promotes what would be “conversion therapy”, the company said.
The move is an extension of an existing ban on advertisements promoting this type of therapy, which doctors find ineffective and often harmful.
“We do not allow attacks on people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and we are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services,” commented a Facebook spokesman in response to questions asked by AFP.
“We are always reviewing our policies and will continue to consult experts and people with individual experiences” on the subject, he added.
Conversion therapy “interventions” include electric shock, food deprivation and chemically induced nausea, the American Medical Association (AMA) noted in a report.
Empirical evidence shows that sexual and gender orientation in people varies naturally, and that “conversion” is a mistake, he added.
A person’s “efforts to change sexual orientation” not only don’t work, but they can cause significant suffering, the AMA said, citing a study showing that this treatment creates depression, anxiety, alienation and other negative effects.
Another study cited by the AMA found that almost 30% of people undergoing conversion therapy reported suicide attempts.