After Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, received criticism for removing a feature that promoted suicide prevention hotlines and support groups, Twitter has reinstated it.
The #ThereIsHelp feature listed contacts for organizations in numerous nations that dealt with mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, Covid-19, gender-based violence, natural disasters, and freedom of expression, and it displayed a banner at the top of search results for specific topics.
The feature was removed a few days ago, according to Reuters’ report on Friday.
Ella Irwin, the head of trust and safety at Twitter, acknowledged the removal and described it as temporary. We have been updating and fixing our prompts, Irwin said. They were only taken out of the picture while we did that. Next week, we anticipate having them back up.
“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.” She added: “We know these prompts are useful in many cases and just want to make sure they are functioning properly and continue to be relevant,” Irwin said.
Musk had tweeted: “False, it is still there,” in response to inquiries about comments on the removal that he had initially chosen not to make. The billionaire added that “Twitter doesn’t prevent suicide” in response to Twitter users’ criticism.
Following the initial removal, some consumer safety organizations and Twitter users expressed concern for the safety of the platform’s most vulnerable users.
The disappearance of the hashtag #ThereIsHelp was “extremely disconcerting and profoundly disturbing,” according to Eirliani Abdul Rahman, a member of a recently disbanded Twitter content advisory group. She continued, “Normally you would be working on it in parallel, not removing it, even if it was only temporarily removed to make room for improvements.”
Despite the fact that researchers and civil rights organizations have observed an increase in tweets containing racial slurs and other hateful content, Musk has previously claimed that impressions, or views, of harmful content have decreased since he took over the company in October and has tweeted graphs demonstrating a downward trend.
Additionally, the businessman has stated he wants to fight child abuse imagery on Twitter and has criticized how the previous owner handled the situation. However, he has significantly reduced the teams responsible for handling potentially offensive material.
According to company tweets, Twitter launched some prompts around five years ago, and some of them were accessible in over 30 countries.
The feature was enhanced to display details about natural disaster searches in Indonesia and Malaysia right after Musk purchased the business.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)