Twitter has restored a feature that promoted suicide prevention hotlines and support groups after its CEO, Elon Musk, came under fire for removing them.
The feature, known as #ThereIsHelp, placed a banner at the top of search results for certain topics and listed contacts of organizations in many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, sexual exploitation of children, Covid-19, gender-based violence, 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 and called it temporary. Irwin said, “We fixed and rearranged our prompts. They were just temporarily deleted while we were doing this. We expect to pick them up next week.
Irwin said: “Google uses them very well in its search results and [we] actually reflect some of their approach with the changes we’re making. She added, “We know these prompts are useful in many cases and we just want to make sure they work properly and stay relevant.”
Musk, who initially did not respond to requests for comment on the removal, tweeted, “Wrong, he’s still here.” In response to criticism from Twitter users, the billionaire also wrote that “Twitter does not prevent suicide”.
The initial removal had led some consumer safety groups and Twitter users to raise concerns about the well-being of vulnerable users on the platform.
Eirliani Abdul Rahman, who was part of a recently disbanded Twitter content advisory group, said the disappearance of #ThereIsHelp was “extremely disconcerting and deeply disturbing”. She added that while it was only temporarily removed to make room for improvements, “normally you would work on it in parallel, not remove it.”
Musk has previously said that impressions or opinions of harmful content have been down since he took over the company in October and tweeted charts showing a downward trend, even as researchers and advocacy groups civil rights followed an increase in tweets with racial and other slurs. hateful content.
The entrepreneur also said he wanted to tackle child abuse images on Twitter and criticized the previous owner’s handling of the issue. But it cut much of the teams involved in dealing with potentially objectionable material.
Twitter launched prompts about five years ago and some were available in more than 30 countries, according to the company’s tweets.
In one of its blog posts on the #ThereIsHelp feature, Twitter said it had a responsibility to ensure users can “access and receive support on our service when they need it most.” .
Just as Musk bought the company, the feature was expanded to show information related to research on natural disasters in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Reuters contributed to this report