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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Twitter Disables Suicide Prevention Tool Following Elon Musk’s Directive: Report

Concerns over the safety of vulnerable users have grown since the suicide prevention tool was removed

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UNITED STATES: Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, has ordered yet another update to the microblogging platform after introducing the “View count” feature. Several sources claim that Elon Musk ordered the removal of a Twitter function that was meant to distract those who were contemplating suicide.

Suicide prevention feature removed from Twitter

The suicide prevention tool encouraged visitors searching for specific content to call suicide hotlines and use other safety options. Two people who were familiar with the deletion were cited in the paper; they requested anonymity out of concern for Musk’s reprisal. However, it was not immediately clear why Musk ordered to remove the feature.

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Musk disabled the #ThereIsHelp feature on Friday, which offered suicide prevention hotlines and other information when users searched for particular content.

“Our prompts have been updated and repaired. While we were doing it, they were just momentarily removed,” said Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety. “Next week, we anticipate having them back up,” she continued.

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The #ThereIsHelp feature was prominently displayed at the top of searches for organisations that provide support in nations pertaining to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, COVID-19, gender-based violence, natural catastrophes, and freedom of expression.

Concerns over the safety of vulnerable users have grown since the suicide prevention tool was removed. 

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The removal of #ThereIsHelp, according to Eirliani Abdul Rahman, a member of a recently disbanded Twitter content advisory panel, was “very unnerving and profoundly disturbing.”

Journalist Will Guyatt tweeted, “Terrible, terrible, terrible. All of those who spoke of Musk transforming Twitter for the better need to pipe down.”

“What kind of grade-A jerk do you have to be to cut suicide prevention and educational measures for the hell of it?” wrote Ryan T. Kranc, a podcaster and Army Colonel.

Zac Hall, senior editor of Apple news website 9to5Mac, also raised questions on the move by tweeting, “Why is there no love for the suicide prevention feature?” 

Musk has made a lot of policy changes, added new features, and fired staff since he took over the social media company, and he has received harsh criticism for his actions. 

He tweeted graphs in October, indicating that since he took office, the number of views or dangerous information had decreased. However, researchers and civil rights organisations have observed an uptick in tweets containing racial epithets and other offensive language.

Last week, Musk posted a Twitter poll asking people if they thought he should “step down as head of Twitter,” and he promised to accept the results.

Almost all users approved of his resignation. As soon as he found “someone foolish enough to take the position,” he vowed to resign.

Also Read: Vinay Choletti’s Resignation Marks the Fourth Departure from Whatsapp

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