Twitter's head of trust and safety Ella Irwin had said the feature was "temporarily removed" while they were working to fix prompts.

Two people familiar with the matter said the removal was ordered by the social media platform's owner Elon Musk.
Two people familiar with the matter said the removal was ordered by the social media platform's owner Elon Musk. (AA Archive)

Twitter Inc has restored a feature that promoted suicide prevention hotlines and other safety resources to users looking up certain content.

The move on Saturday came following pressure from some users and consumer safety groups over its removal.

Its elimination had led some consumer safety groups and Twitter users to express concerns about the well-being of vulnerable users of the platform.

The feature was reportedly taken down a few days ago, according to two people familiar with the matter, who said the removal was ordered by the social media platform's owner Elon Musk.

Twitter head of trust and safety Ella Irwin had confirmed the removal, saying: "We have been fixing and revamping our prompts. They were just temporarily removed while we do that".

She added, "We know these prompts are useful in many cases and just want to make sure they are functioning properly and continue to be relevant".

About 15 hours after the feature was reported missing, Musk, who did not initially respond to requests for comment, tweeted "False, it is still there".

In response to criticism by Twitter users, he also tweeted "Twitter doesn't prevent suicide".

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'Profoundly disturbing'

The feature, known as #ThereIsHelp, placed a banner at the top of search results for certain topics.

It listed contacts for support organizations in many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, Covid-19, natural disasters and freedom of expression.

Eirliani Abdul Rahman, who had been on a recently dissolved Twitter content advisory group, said the disappearance of #ThereIsHelp was "extremely disconcerting and profoundly disturbing".

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Even if it was only temporarily removed to make way for improvements, "normally you would be working on it in parallel, not removing it," she said.

In part due to pressure from consumer safety groups, internet services including Twitter, Alphabet's Google and Meta's Facebook have for years tried to direct users to well-known resource providers such as government hotlines when they suspect someone may be in danger of harming themselves or others.

Source: Reuters