Twitter is bringing back the suicide prevention feature

Twitter has restored a feature that promoted suicide prevention hotlines and support groups after its CEO Elon Musk came under fire for its removal.

The feature, known as #ThereIsHelp, placed a banner above search results for certain topics and listed contacts for organizations in several countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, pedophilia, Covid-19, gender-based violence, and natural disasters. and freedom of expression.

Reuters reported on Friday that the feature was removed a few days ago.

Twitter’s Head of Trust and Safety, Ella Irwin, confirmed the removal, calling it temporary. “We’ve fixed and renewed our claims,” said Irwin. “They’ve been temporarily removed while we do that. We expect to have them back up next week.”

Irwin said: “Google is doing really well with these in search results and [we] They’re actually mirroring some of their approach with the changes we’re making.” She added, “We know these prompts are useful in a lot of cases and we just want to make sure they work properly and stay relevant.”

Musk, who did not initially respond to requests for comment on the removal, tweeted: “Wrong, it’s still there.” In response to Twitter users’ criticism, the billionaire also wrote that “Twitter does not prevent suicide.”

The initial removal prompted some consumer safety groups and Twitter users to express concerns about the welfare of vulnerable users on the platform.

Irliani Abdurrahman, who was a member of a recently disbanded Twitter content advisory group, said the disappearance of #ThereIsHelp was “very disturbing and deeply upsetting”. Even if it is removed only temporarily to make room for improvements, she added, “you usually work on it in parallel, not remove it.”

Musk has previously said impressions or views of harmful content have been declining since he took over the company in October, and he tweeted graphs showing a downward trend, even as researchers and civil rights groups tracked an increase in tweets containing racial and other slurs. Hateful content.

The businessman also announced that he wanted to combat images of child abuse on Twitter and criticized the previous owner’s handling of the issue. But he has cut back large portions of the teams involved in handling potentially objectionable material.

Twitter made some claims about five years ago and some of them were available in more than 30 countries, according to the company’s tweets.

In one of its blog posts about the #ThereIsHelp feature, Twitter said it has a responsibility to ensure that users can “reach and receive support on our service when they need it most.”

Just as Musk bought the company, the feature has been expanded to display information related to natural disaster searches in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Reuters contributed to this report

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