Meta partners with Sydney WorldPride 2023, and brings back the Mardi Gras Viewing Event Grants

By Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy - ANZ, Pacific Islands, Korea and Japan - 16 November 2022

Today we’re excited to announce that Meta Australia, will be a Major Partner for Sydney WorldPride and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for 2023. To mark the occasion, we’re bringing back the Sydney WorldPride and Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Event Grants, to support local businesses and unlock economic opportunities for LGBTQ+ artists and entertainers.

Grants of up to $3,350 will be awarded to venues around Australia who demonstrate the ability to host a COVID safe event for the Official Sydney WorldPride Live & Proud: Opening Ceremony or Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Event for the 2023 festival. Applications are now open until the 4th December, and you find out more details and apply here

The impact of the program over the last two years reached far beyond the businesses themselves, and showed how important it was for Meta to bring back the grants program. This year, the program generated nearly $400,000 in revenue across 29 venues, which attracted over 6,500 attendees. Not only did these help local businesses, but it unlocked employment opportunities for over 260 staff, who were employed to run the Mardi Gras Parade viewing events, and over 200 performers and artists who secured work thanks to these events. 

Everyday the LGBTQ+ community come to our platforms to create connections, share support and adapt their businesses. Since 2016, we’ve been a major partner with Mardi Gras and we’re incredibly excited to celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community from all around the world next year. WorldPride presents an incredible opportunity to celebrate queer culture, and for local businesses and communities to thrive in one of the biggest events since the Sydney Olympics. The Sydney WorldPride and Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Event Grants, are just one of the ways we are supporting the LGBTQ+ community next year, and we are excited to announce more initiatives soon. 

Supporting trans & gender diverse people #beseen

Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands – March 31, 2022


Meta provides services like Facebook and Instagram for the rainbow community to find belonging and connection. Our policies on these apps are designed to give people a voice to express themselves freely but also feel safe and respected. In addition, we also build tools to support and celebrate the diversity that exists within our community. And we work directly with the community and local organisations to provide resources, education and research that will both support the community and inform the wider industry about what more we can do in the future. Through our work with partners such as ACON, Black Rainbow and Trans Pride Australia, we are working to deepen our understanding and support for the Trans community.

The theme for the 2022 Trans Day of Visibility is #beseen – this theme speaks to the opportunity for us to recognise trans and gender diverse experiences and what more we can do to ensure both recognition and visibility in digital spaces both now and into the future. This seems like the perfect time to #beseen using the trans colours option in the Pride AR filter – read on for more details about Meta’s work to provide tools, and resources and invest in research to support the trans community and trans visibility.


To ensure people can #beseen on Facebook and Instagram in ways that reflect their gender identity, you can include the gender pronoun on your profile that best reflects you. This setting gives both people identifying as gender diverse and cis-identified allies the opportunity to openly curate their Instagram profiles and also increase the awareness and acceptability of gender pronouns on social media.

To add your pronouns on Instagram, open your profile on the app and click “edit profile.” Click pronouns, and start typing. A list of suggestions will pop up. Each one you tap will be added to your profile, up to four pronouns.

To add your pronouns on Facebook, click your profile picture in the top right of Facebook, click About, then click Contact and Basic Info.

At Meta, we’re also excited to look for new ways for people to celebrate the queer community and #beseen. As part of Meta’s major sponsorship of the 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, we released a new Pride AR filter on Instagram designed by Sydney based artist Kim Leutwyler aka @carlosbob. We partnered with Kim to design this filter including colour schemes which allow people to honour the breadth of the LGBTQIA+ community – including a filter that reflects the colours of the trans flag. You can access the Pride AR filter at @sydneymardigras@carlosbob – a great way to celebrate visibility and #beseen on this Trans Day of Visibility.


To understand how the LGBTQIA+ community is using our apps, especially during the pandemic, we undertook to study the experience of LGBTQI youth. The research found young LGBTQIA+ people’s social media use during the pandemic went up and they had strategies in place that allowed them to thrive on social media platforms. However one of the outcomes of that study recommended greater research be undertaken to understand the unique experience of the Trans community on social media and their unique needs.

Building on this recommendation, in 2022, we are thrilled to be working with the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney and researchers Denton Callander, Shoshana Rosenberg and Teddy Cook, to enhance trans people’s experiences of gender affirmation on Instagram. Titled “#TransIsBeautiful”, this research furthers our commitment to engaging the trans community meaningfully and ensuring the wider community is informed by the trans community and their needs directly.

Speaking to the importance of the research, Teddy Cook, #TransIsBeautiful Co-Lead Investigator, Manager of Trans Health Equity at ACON, and Vice President of the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health explained: “Instagram and other social media are really important social spaces for many trans people, which is why we’re so excited to launch the #TransIsBeautiful project. This innovative social research will help us learn about how to maximize visual social media as a safe, healthy, and affirming space for trans people of all genders in Australia and around the world.”

This research is just one project from the global Instagram research awards on safety and community health, announced in December 2021. We look forward to sharing the findings later this year.


Part of ensuring that everyone in our community can express themselves and feel safe means more than just having policies and designing tools. In addition to the existing resources such as the Instagram Safety Guide, we have developed resources that are specifically designed to provide practical tips and advice for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Safe & Strong Guide is a guide that provides practical advice for the LGBTQIA+ community to keep your socials a safe and positive space. It contains tips on how to use the safety tools on Facebook and Instagram, advice from experts and inspiration from your favourite queer creators. Developed by Meta in conjunction with Black Rainbow, Trans Pride Australia, ACON, Twenty10 and Minus18, the guide features trans and gender-diverse creators including AJ Clementine, Roshan Nausad and Brandon Scott.

We look forward to celebrating Trans Day of Visibility with you in 2022 and into the future!

United We Shine for LGBTQI+ communities

March 4, 2022


2022 has been an opportunity for many people to return to a “new normal” and remain connected to the people, causes and community events that matter. That’s why the theme for this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, “United We Shine” – is so fitting as it reflects how communities are stronger when we work together, just as the rainbow community is working together to rebuild and restore vibrancy.

Everyday the LGBTQI+ community come to our platforms to create connections, share support and adapt their businesses. Since 2016, we’ve been a major partner with Mardi Gras and this year we wanted to make sure we had a real impact to help the community rebuild. That’s why we chose to focus on investing in the community to support economic recovery, ensure people had the tools to keep themselves safe on our apps and allow people and Creators to celebrate their authentic selves online, including a brand new Pride AR filter designed specifically for Mardi Gras 2022.


Investing in our communities, and building resilience 

This year saw the return of the Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Events Grants, which awarded 30 venues across Australia a share of $100,000 to host a viewing party of the Mardi Gras on the 5th March 2022. We continued the grants program in 2022, after the success of the program in 2021 generated economic impact for communities well beyond the grant investment. This included over $300,000 in revenue across 30 venues, which attracted over 7000 attendees. More than 220 staff were employed to run the Mardi Gras Parade viewing events, and over 200 performers and artists were employed as a result of the grants program. We look forward to seeing the continued impact of this fund this year.

In addition to the grants, we’ve also partnered with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA) this year to bring hope with our Boost with Facebook to LGBTQI+ business owners. The free, in-person digital skills event takes place on Wednesday 23rd March and will offer participants training on how to use digital tools to help their business adapt and thrive online. To register for this event visit

Protecting our LGBTQI+ youth online

This year we continued our partnerships with Black RainbowTrans Pride AustraliaACONTwenty10, and Minus18 to update the Safe and Strong 2022 with new safety products and updated information from community organisations. The guide also features inspiration from local queer creators including @itsbybrandon@ajclementine_, and @jjzandt.

Through resources like this guide, we want to encourage young people (particularly LGBTQI+ youth), to protect their online space, own their feed, manage their time spent and be empowered to have a positive online experience.

Celebrate Mardi Gras with our pride features

For the first time, we’re introducing a new Pride AR filter on Instagram designed by Sydney based artist Kim Leutwyler aka @carlosbob. We partnered with Kim to design this filter because of her gorgeous work that celebrates LGBTQ+ identified and allied people. The new Pride AR filter includes colour schemes that allow people to honour the LGBTQI+, Trans, Bi+, Ace and Non-binary communities, and share their support online. You can access the Pride AR filter at @instagramnextau@sydneymardigras@carlosbob.

Also returning this year are the rainbow hashtags, transforming over 70 hashtags into colourful beacons throughout your feed.


Use one of these hashtags in your Stories, or post one of our featured Pride stickers, to activate a rainbow story ring.

Buy From The Bush report: Harnessing digital tools for lasting change in rural Australia

Grace Brennan - Founder, Buy From The Bush  – March 3, 2022


When I started Buy From The Bush (BFTB) I never anticipated an Instagram account could start a national movement that changed the lives of thousands of people living through drought across rural Australia.

In the two years since its inception, I’m proud to see that BFTB has evolved into a successful purpose-driven business with more than 550,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram and even more importantly, generated $9 million in revenue for rural small businesses.

Today I want to share a new report in partnership with Meta which looks at the longer term impacts of BFTB on rural businesses and communities. The report draws on three main sources including BFTB commissioned research by YouGov, data from the BFTB Marketplace and survey responses from our loyal Instagram followers. In the report we found:

BFTB promotes the growth of female-led businesses which diversify regional economies

BFTB has shown how digital tools like social media can empower entrepreneurs, and in particular, women, to launch and scale businesses from remote communities. YouGov found that seven in ten (70%) rural SMB respondents agree that online/digital businesses have helped women in the regions gain economic security.


Digitally-enabled small businesses can crisis-proof rural communities

BFTB was launched on Instagram when regional Australia was in the grip of one of the worst droughts on record. Soon afterward, the global Covid-19 pandemic arrived and made the notion of crisis-proofing economies even more relevant to all Australians. More than six in ten (62%) SMB owners and managers agree that digitally enabled SMBs can help crisis-proof rural communities.


BFTB is broadening people’s perception of rural Australia’s potential beyond the farm gate

BFTB has created a powerful platform to showcase the breadth of enterprise in regional communities and drive new growth in non-traditional industries like e-commerce. This produces tangible benefits for bush businesses. In fact, social media drove 36% of all users to the BFTB website in the last 12 months, and when we asked our Instagram followers what they thought about us, 70% said that we had changed their perception of rural communities.

The report also looks into the impact that the initiative had on five businesses including Peggy & Twig (Trangie, NSW), Emmanate Creative (Dubbo, NSW), Perennialle Plants (Canowindra, NSW), Singing Magpie Produce (The Riverland, SA) and PHYLLi Designs (Scone, NSW).

Their businesses show the very best of rural resilience. Earlier this week, I was delighted to sit down with all of them, together with Mr Bruce Billson the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) and Mia Garlick, Director of Policy at Meta to give these businesses an opportunity to share their stories and launch this report. We discussed the themes of the report and what we can be focussed on in the year ahead to continue to build resilient, disaster-prepared rural business communities. This conversation also complements the important work Mr. Billson is doing around the Small Business Natural Disaster and Preparedness and Resilience inquiry.

It’s more important than ever that small business in rural Australia remains visible and accessible. Bush businesses – if enabled – are well positioned to leverage opportunities arising from a post-pandemic world and will undoubtedly play a critical role in rebuilding the Australian economy.

Our hope is that off-farm, women-led enterprises continue to grow and contribute layers of diversity and opportunity to rural Australia. Further, that BFTB can continue to forge a meaningful and permanent connection between the city and the bush. In doing so, we believe we can help to crisis-proof rural Australia.

Read more about this report at

Every child, in every community, needs a fair go.

Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands – September 7, 2021


The core theme of National Child Protection Week this year is that “Every child, in every community, needs a fair go” – and to treat all of Australia’s children fairly, with the focus of the week looking at the importance of the bigger picture in addressing child abuse and neglect. To ensure we support all families, we are sharing some important resources and information to support parents and carers across the community.

This week we are launching a new Public Service Announcement (PSA), the ‘Report It. Don’t Share It.’ campaign that aims to educate Australians about the harm caused by sharing images or videos of child abuse, and how people should report this kind of content to law enforcement and Facebook. Facebook has zero tolerance for any behaviour that exploits children and uses sophisticated technology to proactively find and remove this content and works with law enforcement, safety partners, and NCMEC to prevent it from being shared further.

We released research earlier this year that estimates more than 75% of shares of child exploitation material did not exhibit malicious intent but were reportedly shared for other reasons, such as to express anger or outrage or condemn it. To help educate Australians on the harm this is causing, we are running this education campaign with support from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Australian eSafety Commissioner, and NSW Police to prevent and eradicate the sharing of this type of content from their platforms. What our research highlighted is we need to do more to educate Australians on the harms they may be inadvertently causing when forwarding this type of material. This PSA will help people understand the best thing they can do if they receive this type of content is to report it to the authorities and not forward it on. 

The other way we are supporting families this week is to help parents access helpful information. Parenting is tricky enough, let alone having to navigate the changing nature of technology and in particular supporting our children to be safe online --  especially when they are online even more during the pandemic. For this reason, we wanted to support parents by bringing together a panel of experts that work to support the well-being of young people  -- especially around their online interactions. I convened a conversation with Sonya Ryan, the Founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation, an organisation focused on the protection of children and ensuring their online experiences are positive and safe; Detective Chief Inspector Chris Goddard, the head of the Child Exploitation Internet Unit within the New South Wales Police Child Abuse & Sex Crimes Squad; and Jackie Hallan, the Head of Service Delivery at Reach Out, one of Australia’s leading mental health services for parents and young people. The discussion features a range of watch-outs, recommendations, and resources for parents to navigate online spaces together with their children. This discussion will be broadcast on the Facebook Australia page on Tuesday 7 September at 8:00 pm, AEST.

Preventing and eradicating online child sexual exploitation and abuse requires a cross-industry approach, and Facebook is committed to doing our part to protect children on and off our apps. We are taking a research-informed approach to developing effective solutions and tools that will disrupt the sharing of child exploitation material. We will continue to collaborate with our Australian and global industry safety partners and law enforcement to keep children safe on our services.

Facebook recommends anyone who receives or sees this type of content should immediately report it to Facebook so we can put in measures to prevent it from being shared further online. You can also report it to their local police station, or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, which you can do so anonymously and for free.


Facebook expands Local Alerts tool

Josh Machin, Head of Public Policy (Australia) – June 29, 2021


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across Australia, we want to continue to help local governments, police, and emergency services communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people on Facebook.

People tell us it is important to receive timely, local updates in situations that directly affect them or that require them to take action, such as severe emergency weather warnings or major road closures. So today, we are thrilled to announce the expansion of our Local Alerts product to all eligible state and territory health, police, and lead central government Pages.

This expansion will help government agencies connect with communities to find missing persons, share information on COVID-19 outbreaks or ‘hotspots’ and provide critical updates during disasters or significant hazards. For example, with COVID-19 outbreaks continuing to occur in different parts of the country, Local Alerts could be used to advise communities about updated case locations, travel restrictions, or lockdown areas situations develop and evolve.

Since the rollout of this feature six months ago to Australian fire and emergency services, we’ve seen Local Alerts used to provide critical and real-time information during bushfire, cyclone, and flood emergency situations. We hope this feature will become another important communication tool for health, police, and central government agencies to share updates to people about critical events happening in their local area.

The Local Alerts feature is designed to help authorities communicate urgent, need-to-know, or actionable information to communities in emergencies as well as less critical situations where timely information is valuable. When authorities with access to the product mark posts as Local Alerts, Facebook will send a notification to Page followers located in the affected area and mark the post as an alert to make it stand out in News Feed. 

A recent analysis in the US found that Page posts marked as Local Alerts by their administrators gained over 250% more views on average than regular Page posts. We hope that today’s expansion will help even more organisations to communicate timely information to people on Facebook.

Katarina Carroll APM, QLD Police Commissioner said:

“The QPS welcomes Facebook's expansion of the Local Alerts tool to include state and territory police. We have successfully used social media platforms to enhance our engagement with local communities and this additional capacity will help increase our reach for important community safety messages. We look forward to adding the Local Alerts product to our digital communications toolkit, particularly to issue real-time alerts, warnings, and urgent messaging to our community during times of emergency and critical incidents.”

Darren Klemm AFSM, WA Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner, said:

“The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has strategically been using Facebook’s Local Alert tool during incidents to quickly inform communities about imminent danger and how to stay safe. Our Digital Communications Team has found the tool extremely effective in notifying people online about bushfire, cyclone, and flood emergencies - in most instances reaching hundreds of thousands of people within a few hours. These were often people that would otherwise have had a delay in knowing the danger they were in. DFES is proud to be leading the way in emergency digital communications in Australia and encourages other eligible agencies to make use of this tool.”

We will continue to build on existing tools to support first responders, emergency services, and government agencies, to seek their feedback about how we can improve our tools to support them in providing critical updates to local communities. This is just the latest update in a long list of products and initiatives that Facebook has made available to support the provision of authoritative, credible information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To find more information about Facebook’s Local Alerts feature, visit our Facebook Help Centre.

Facebook teams up with Lifeblood to launch Blood Donations feature

Mia Garlick, Director of Public Policy Australia & New Zealand – June 14, 2021

Across Australia, more than 31,000 blood donations are needed by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) every week to meet the needs of patients.

That’s why we are proud to be partnering with Lifeblood to launch a tool across Australia that will help to top up the nation’s blood supply with much-needed new donations.

Our Blood Donations feature is launching nationwide today. Globally so far, it has already helped over 100 million people on Facebook to sign up to receive notifications to donate blood, increasing blood donations around the world and helping to maintain blood supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The feature allows those aged between 18 and 65 to sign up to receive updates on Facebook about giving blood, get notified about opportunities to donate at local blood donor centers and invite friends to donate. We are promoting the feature by notifying people in their newsfeeds, or people can simply find it by searching “blood donations” on Facebook.

Thanks to the generosity of the nation’s blood donors, thousands of lives are saved every day. But with high demand due to COVID-19, more donors are needed. Right now, one blood donation is needed every 24 seconds and a new blood donor is needed every five minutes. Our blood donations feature aims to make it as easy as possible for Australians to donate blood and help to save lives. Within a few clicks, people can sign up, be notified when their local donor center needs more donors to book in, as well as encourage others to do the same.

Currently, most Australian donors are aged over 45, which is why Lifeblood is seeking to recruit ‘new blood' through the blood donation feature to help to secure the next generation of long-term donors and secure the blood supply for the future.

People who sign up will be able to see requests and opportunities to donate blood at over 76 donor centers on Blood Donations on Facebook on their mobile devices.

Celebrating Muslim communities online, this Ramadan

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – April 12, 2021


As we begin another month of Ramadan during the pandemic, Muslims around the world are forging new traditions — gathering virtually and sharing celebrations online. But even with limitations on coming together in person, Ramadan remains a time for generosity, charity, and reflection.

Facebook is honouring this period by spotlighting the celebrations of online communities in several ways. Today we are launching a #MonthofGood calendar to empower Australians to explore, inspire and express good across our apps. The calendar features individuals and organisations from the Australian Muslim community, celebrating and honouring Ramadan including:

  • Academic and UNICEF ambassador @susancarland sharing a “Day in the Life During Ramadan” IGTV video
  • The Online Hate Prevention Institute sharing Facebook Live discussions about combatting Islamophobia and sharing peace on social media
  • Masterchef finalist @aminaelshafei on her Ramadan food ideas on Instagram Reels
  • Modest fashion creator @nawalsari sharing an Instagram Live on beauty and style ahead of Eid
  • Rollerskater @zulfiyeah going Live on Instagram about what Ramadan means to her
  • Model @monakhalifaxo on inspiring good deeds during Ramadan on Instagram Reels
  • Advocacy group @muslimwomenaustralia sharing energy boosting tips during Ramadan
  • Halal restaurant aficionados @halaladvisor on recipe ideas and how local restaurants are preparing for Ramadan

We’re also helping people discover ways to show kindness and give back to their communities using our tools on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve launched new stickers on Instagram Stories and Whatsapp to celebrate Ramadan, which you can use now, and participate today in a shared Ramadan Story on Instagram.

We hope you will join us in elevating the celebration of the Australian Muslim community and have a blessed Ramadan.

Supporting a safe and strong LGBTQI+ youth community

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – March 18, 2021


It’s National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence this Friday 19 March, and Facebook continues to be a partner of this annual event focused on equipping young people with the tools and skills to combat bullying.

Equipping young people to manage their online experience is a collaboration among parents, teachers, industry, and young people themselves. Facebook has been working to support the safety of all young people through partnerships with PROJECT ROCKIT, consultations like the Design Jam, and our own products and safety tools, however, some groups of young people may disproportionately experience bullying. One of those groups is LGBTQI+ young people. For young people—including LGBTQI+ youth and other vulnerable groups—additional tools, resources and support are helpful to create safe and inclusive online spaces for expression and belonging.  This year we worked in partnership with Black RainbowTrans Pride AustraliaACONTwenty10, and Minus18 to refresh the ‘Safe and Strong’ guide with new safety products and updated information from community organisations. The guide also features inspiration from local queer creators including Cub Sport Jeff Van Der Zandt, AJ Clementine, and more.

Through resources like this guide, we want to encourage young people, and LGBTQI+ youth, in particular, to protect their online space, own their feed, manage their time spent, and be empowered to have a positive online experience.

Today, we are sharing a new suite of shareable assets from the Safe and Strong guide to support our community when using Facebook and Instagram to have a safe and positive experience online this National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

The guide features unique artwork from Jessica Johnson for Nungala Creative, and was designed by Cameron Jeong. You can find more resources to support the safety of young people at our Facebook Youth Portal.


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Coming together through Groups in times of need

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – March 12, 2021


From bushfires to pandemics, Australians are using Facebook Groups to come together and find connection, and belonging, and get through when times are tough. Whether it’s for emotional support and to offer help, or to connect around unique interests or hobbies, Groups have provided a gateway for people to connect with their communities, at a time when they need it most.

recent survey found that Facebook Groups play a role in disaster response with 91% of Australian respondents saying they have given some form of support to others during the COVID-19 pandemic through their preferred Facebook Group; whether it was helping local vulnerable residents with their groceries during the lockdown, sharing vital information from health authorities, or providing financial support to local business.

To help support Australian communities through the challenges of 2020, we created the Facebook Australia Groups Fund, a $500,000 fund designed to support Groups who are leading grassroots community relief or recovery efforts and building resilience in communities who have been affected by the crisis. We’re proud to announce the final grant recipients, a series of stories of the unsung local heroes, making a meaningful difference in their communities through Facebook Groups.

One of the communities we supported through the fund is the Love the Bay BB Facebook Group. The Group was initially created as a community pride campaign to support the local small business community. However, in the midst of the bushfire crisis on the NSW South Coast, it soon became clear the role of the Group was more important than ever. The Group prioritises showcasing the local small business community and giving them a platform on which they can promote their unique businesses both to their town and across Australia.

You can read the full list of the Facebook Australia 2020 Groups Fund recipients here.

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