Twitter Restores Suicide Prevention Hotline

San Francisco: Twitter Inc has restored a feature that promotes suicide prevention hotlines and other safety resources after coming under pressure from some users and consumer safety groups over their removal.

The feature was taken down a few days ago. Two people familiar with the matter said the removal was ordered by the social media platform’s new owner Elon Musk. After the publication of the story, Twitter’s head of trust and safety Ella Irwin confirmed the removal and called it temporary.

Twitter was “fixing relevance, optimising the size of the message prompts and correcting outdated prompts,” Irwin said. “We know they are useful and our intent was not to have them down permanently.”

About 15 hours after the initial report, 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.”

The feature, known as #ThereIsHelp, places a banner at the top of search results for certain topics. It has listed contacts for support organizations in many countries related to mental health, HIV, vaccines, child sexual exploitation, COVID-19, gender-based violence, natural disasters and freedom of expression.

By Saturday, the banner returned to searches about suicide and domestic violence in multiple countries under terms like “shtwt,” shorthand for “self-harm Twitter.”

Whether the feature had been restored for other categories was not clear. The feature was not appearing for some search queries that Twitter has previously said triggered it, such as “#HIV.”

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