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Twitter restores suicide prevention feature after Elon Musk reportedly ordered its removal

Published Dec 27th, 2022 6:37PM EST
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Image: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency

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Twitter has restored its suicide prevention feature after it was reportedly removed under orders from current CEO and new owner Elon Musk.

As reported by Reuters, the feature was removed from the social media platform, apparently under the direction of Elon Musk from multiple sources familiar with the matter. Ella Irwin, Twitter’s current head of trust and safety, said that the change was temporary and that the company was working on improving the prompts before bringing them back.

Twitter was “fixing relevance, optimizing the size of the message prompts and correcting outdated prompts.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

While Irwin said that the feature was being improved, Musk made a comment on Twitter that indicated that he didn’t believe it does much anyway.

According to Irwin, the improvements the Twitter team is making to the feature are largely based on the way that Google handles searches that may indicate someone is interested in self-harm.

“Google does really well with these in their search results and (we) are actually mirroring some of their approach with the changes we are making. Google provides highly relevant message prompts based on search terms, they are always current and are optimized appropriately for both mobile and web.”

While it’s good to see that the feature is back on the platform after only being gone for a day, some are concerned as to why it was removed at all. Eirliani Abdul Rahman, who was up until recently part of an advisory group for Twitter, said that a feature being removed before it was revamped was unusual.

Musk continues to stir controversy on Twitter. While most users voted for him to step down as CEO earlier this month, Musk says he will only leave once he finds someone “foolish enough” to lead the company.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.