The removal of the feature known as #ThereIsHelp has not been previously reported. Twitter showed at the top of specific searches the contacts of support organizations in many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, COVID-19, gender violence, natural disasters and freedom of expression.
Its removal could raise concerns about the well-being of vulnerable Twitter users. Musk said the number of exposures or views of malicious content has fallen since he took office in October and he posted graphs on Twitter showing a downward trend, even as researchers and civil rights groups say it’s on the rise. . other hateful content.
Twitter and Musk did not respond to requests for comment on the removal of the feature. The agency could not immediately determine why Musk ordered the feature removed. Sources with knowledge of his decision declined to name names for fear of retaliation. One of them said that millions of people have found #ThereIsHelp messages.
Twitter released certain tips about five years ago, and some of them were available in more than 30 countries, according to tweets from the company. In one of its blog posts about this feature, Twitter stated that it has a responsibility to ensure that users can “access our service and receive support when they need it most.” After Musk bought the company, the feature was expanded to display information related to finding natural disasters in Indonesia and Malaysia, for example.
Alex Goldenberg, principal analyst at the nonprofit Network Contagion Research Institute, said clues that appeared in search results just a few days ago disappeared Thursday. In August, he and his colleagues published a study showing that monthly mentions on Twitter of some terms related to self-harm increased by more than 500 percent compared to last year, with younger users at particular risk from seeing said content.
Musk has previously said he wants to crack down on child pornography on Twitter and criticized the previous owner’s handling of the issue. But he fired a significant portion of the teams involved in potentially objectionable material.