Tech | December 24, 2022 4:55 pm

Twitter Reverses Removal of Suicide Prevention Feature

The feature was previously reported as having been turned off

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It's been another tumultuous week at Twitter.
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Earlier this week, Reuters broke the news that Twitter had removed a number of features focusing on suicide prevention. The article cited two unnamed sources stating that the edict had come from owner Elon Musk, and included a statement from the company to the effect that the feature was being updated — the exact phrase used was “fixing and revamping our prompts” — and that the removal was only temporary.

This begged the question of why, precisely, Twitter couldn’t have waited until the fix was complete rather than removing the feature outright. Evidently, Twitter has come around to this position as well; Engadget is now reporting that the feature has been re-enabled.

Earlier today, Musk himself weighed in on the news on Twitter. “1. The message is actually still up. This is fake news,” Musk wrote. “2. Twitter doesn’t prevent suicide.”

As Reuters noted in their initial article, a number of search engines and technology companies, including Google and Tumblr, have systems in place that route people who appear to be in distress to mental health and suicide prevention resources.

Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, addressed the removal in comments made to Reuters. “We know these prompts are useful in many cases and just want to make sure they are functioning properly and continue to be relevant,” Irwin said.