Elon Musk orders removal of Twitter’s suicide prevention feature | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  Elon Musk orders removal of Twitter’s suicide prevention feature
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Elon Musk orders removal of Twitter’s suicide prevention feature

Concerns about the safety of vulnerable Twitter users have grown since the feature was removed.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla founder Elon Musk attends Offshore Northern Seas 2022 in Stavanger, Norway August 29, 2022. NTB/Carina Johansen via REUTERS (via REUTERS)Premium
FILE PHOTO: Tesla founder Elon Musk attends Offshore Northern Seas 2022 in Stavanger, Norway August 29, 2022. NTB/Carina Johansen via REUTERS (via REUTERS)

Elon Musk has ordered the removal of a Twitter feature that pushed suicide prevention hotlines and other safety options to users seeking for specific content has been taken down on Twitter recently, according to two persons with knowledge of the situation.

There was no prior information about the feature's withdrawal, known as #ThereIsHelp. It is connected to support groups in various countries pertaining to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, COVID-19, gender-based violence, natural catastrophes and freedom of expression presented at the top of specialised searches.

The sources who knew about Musk's decision to direct the feature's removal chose not to be identified due to their concern for reprisal. According to one of them, #ThereIsHelp messages have been seen by millions of people.

Also Read: Elon Musk to step down as Twitter CEO after finding replacement

According to tweets from Twitter, it started rolling out some prompts around five years ago. Some of these prompts were then accessible in over 30 countries. Twitter earlier stated in one of its blog entries about the function that it had a duty to make sure users could access and receive support on our service when they were in need.

Concerns about the safety of vulnerable Twitter users have grown since the feature was removed. Despite the fact that researchers and civil rights organisations have observed an increase in tweets with racial slurs and other hateful content, Musk has claimed that impressions, or views, of harmful content have decreased since he took over in October and has tweeted graphs demonstrating a downward trend.

Also Read: Elon Musk to publish shocking exposé on free speech suppression at Twitter

When users believe someone may be in danger, online platforms like Twitter, Google, and Facebook have long tried to point them toward well-known resource providers like government hotlines, in part as a result of pressure from consumer safety groups.

Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, has told Reuters, "We have been fixing and revamping our prompts. They were just temporarily removed while we do that. We expect to have them back up next week."

"Google does really well with these in their search results and (we) are actually mirroring some of their approach with the changes we are making," Irwin said in her email. "We know these prompts are useful in many cases and just want to make sure they are functioning properly and continue to be relevant."

(With agency inputs)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 24 Dec 2022, 07:49 AM IST
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