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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Twitter reinstates suicide prevention hotline feature after protests.

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Following pressure from users and consumer groups, Twitter has reinstated the ability to promote suicide prevention hotlines and other safety resources for users searching for specific content. Known as #ThereIsHelp, the feature places banners at the top of search results for particular topics, highlighting many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, Covid-19, and gender-based violence. Lists contacts for aid organizations. , natural disasters, and free speech. Reuters said on Friday that the feature was shut down this week. Citing two people familiar with the matter, the report said the removal was ordered by social media platform owner Elon Musk.

After the story went public, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, confirmed the removal but said it was temporary. She said, “We fixed and overhauled the prompt. In an email to Reuters, they were only temporarily removed while we were doing this,” Irwin said. Musk later called the Reuters report “fake news” and denied the feature was removed. Nonetheless, the report, released at the start of the Christmas holidays, a tense time for many, has sparked widespread concern: Anonymous sources cited by Reuters say millions have said they encountered a #ThereIsHelp message on Twitter.

Giuliani Abdul Rahman, a member of Twitter’s recently disbanded content advisory group, told Reuters the disappearance of #ThereIsHelp was “very disturbing and very disappointing,” even if the removals were implemented to make room for improvement. Anxiety,” he said. “Now is the worst time to remove suicide prevention,” wrote software developer and Twitter user Jane Manchun Wong. “Instead of leaving a gap of time without the suicide prevention feature for revision, we could have kept the old prompt and replaced it with the new one when it was done.” But Musk has cut back on his team dealing with sensitive material, and observers say self-harming content thrives despite the virtual ban.

Twitter introduced warnings about five years ago. In part, he was available in over 30 countries, according to the company’s tweet. In a blog post, Twitter said it has a responsibility to ensure users “access our services and get support when they need it most.” According to Alex Goldenberg, lead intelligence analyst at the nonprofit Network Contagion Research Institute, a study published by his group in August, before Musk took control of Twitter, found that terms related to self-harm We saw an increase of over 500 mentions on Twitter each month. %. Year after year, especially among younger users.“If this decision is a symbol of the policy change and means that we are no longer taking these issues seriously, it is hazardous,” Goldenberg told Reuters. “This goes against Musk’s previous promise to put child safety first.”

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