This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.
The Samaritans recently released an app which automatically scans the tweets of anyone you follow and alerts subscribers to potentially suicidal tweets based on “trigger phrases.” However while Samaritans may mean well, there has been public outcry over the somewhat stalker-friendly app due to privacy concerns.
Never mind the fact that it is somewhat creepy, there are also big privacy concerns. A recent Samaritans blog post described how the app was intended to work;
“The people you follow won’t know you’ve signed up to it and all alerts will be sent directly to your email address”
A recurring theme of complaint from users was that it is essentially an ‘over the shoulder’ app which can alert stalkers as to when their targets may be feeling the most vulnerable. Other people said that it would force users with mental health issues off the social network.
By the end of the first day, Samaritans said that it received more than 1,500 subscribers monitoring 900,000 Twitter feeds. Last Wednesday the app generated 258 alerts however only 10 of those alerts were in fact deemed to be possibly accurate.
On Thursday Samaritans were forced to back pedal a little bit and allow users to essentially opt out of being monitored. Originally only organisations that tweeted content that may contain triggers could do this however the functionality has now been extended to the average user.
The problem that people are having now is that in order to opt out, you need to follow Samaritans on Twitter and send them a DM. Samaritans say that they have sought legal consultation and are satisfied that they app does not breach data protection legislation.
How do you feel knowing that your feed could be possibly being monitored by Samaritans?
About The Author
Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis, he is also a proud father of his bearded dragon, Lola. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here.