Twitter owner Elon Musk has faced backlash after publishing a report ordering the social media platform to remove a tool said to help prevent suicide.
Reuters reported Friday that Musk had called for the removal of the #ThereIsHelp feature, which shared suicide prevention hotlines and other information when users searched for specific content. The report cited two people familiar with the deletion, who spoke anonymously, fearing “retaliation” from Musk.
The #ThereIsHelp feature also reportedly shared information on other mental health issues, child sexual exploitation, vaccines, HIV, COVID-19, gender-based violence, natural disasters and freedom of speech. Reuters said it “cannot immediately determine why Musk is ordering the feature’s removal.”
The decision was poorly received by most on Twitter, with some users accusing Musk of endangering lives and questioning why he allegedly ordered the feature’s removal.
“What kind of first-class idiot does one have to be to take the hell out of suicide prevention and education?” tweeted Podcaster and Army Colonel Ryan T. Kranc. “We now have an answer to that question.”
“As if Twitter couldn’t get any worse, Musk has now eliminated the feature that promotes suicide prevention hotlines and other user safety resources,” @NorskLadyWolf tweeted. “The man is pure EVIL.”
“Hey @elonmusk” tweeted James Whatley, chief strategy officer at gaming agency Diva. “It’s as dangerous as it is stupid.
“My suicide attempt went viral. WaPo wrote about it,” wrote Josh Raby tweeted. “Within 6 weeks I had received over 7000 DMs. People with guns in their hands. mothers of prodigal daughters. I have interacted with all of them.
“@elonmusk why no love for the suicide prevention feature?” asked Zac Hall, senior editor of Apple news site 9to5Mac. “Seems strange.”
“Awful, awful awful,” said journalist Will Guyatt tweeted. “Anyone who spoke of Musk changing Twitter for the better needs to speak up.”
“Elon Musk really is a terrible person” tweeted David Fucillo, Head of Sports Betting at Vox. “People will continue to support him because they’re buffoons, but that’s just awful.”
“Elon is either a hateful idiot or catastrophically negligent”, @HeyGeek tweeted. “Neither one is great.”
Musk has been heavily criticized for a series of Twitter policy changes since he completed his purchase of the platform in late October.
Human rights activists denounced Musk’s decision to fire the platform’s entire human rights department just a week after the purchase.
Musk also came under fire for recovering previously suspended accounts belonging to people that included neo-Nazis.
Meanwhile, despite his professed devotion to “free speech,” Musk has barred a 20-year-old college student from a ban and threatened to sue him for leaking public information about his private jet. He also banned accounts of some journalists who covered the story.
Last week, the billionaire shared a Twitter poll asking whether he should “step down as head of Twitter,” promising that he would “act on the results of that poll.” A majority of users voted for his resignation.
Days later, Musk commented “interesting” in response to a tweet claiming without evidence that the poll had been rigged by “deep state bots.”
Musk was still running the platform on Friday, after promising Tuesday that he would step down as soon as he “finds someone stupid enough to take the job.”
news week has reached out to Twitter for comment.
If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you can get free, confidential help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, or dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
https://www.newsweek.com/musk-blasted-after-twitter-cuts-suicide-prevention-feature-grade-jerk-1769457 Musk blasted after Twitter cuts suicide prevention feature: ‘Grade A Jerk’