Twitter Restores User Safety Feature After Outcry

twitter, social media

Twitter restores feature promoting user safety materials following ‘temporary’ removal, after complaints by user and consumer safety groups

Twitter has restored a feature promoting suicide prevention materials for users who search for certain content, after platform owner Elon Musk was criticised for taking it down.

A report said on Friday that the feature had been removed a few days earlier, something Reuters said had been ordered by Musk.

Twitter head of trust and safety Ella Irwin later confirming the removal and said it was temporary.

Irwin told Reuters Twitter was “fixing relevance, optimizing the size of the message prompts and correcting outdated prompts”.

Image credit: Elon Musk twitter
Image credit: Elon Musk

User safety

“We know they are useful and our intent was not to have them down permanently.”

Following the initial report Musk tweeted, “False, it is still there.” In response to criticism from Twitter users he tweeted, “Twitter doesn’t prevent suicide.”

The #ThereIsHelp feature places a banner at the top of search results for certain topics, promoting contacts for organisations in many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, Covid-19, gender-based violence, natural disasters and freedom of expression.

As of Monday the banner had returned for some topics, such as suicide and domestic violence, but was not appearing for some categories that previously triggered it, such as “HIV” or “freedom of expression”.

Feature update

Irwin told Reuters Twitter was seeking to revamp its user safety feature by learning from Google’s approach to the issue.

“Google does really well with these in their search results and (we) are actually mirroring some of their approach with the changes we are making,” she said.

“Google provides highly relevant message prompts based on search terms, they are always current and are optimised appropriately for both mobile and web.”