Social media platform X might remove block feature, says owner Elon Musk

A free speech move or a bad idea?

Social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) might remove users’ ability to block accounts they don’t want to see or interact with, according to owner Elon Musk.

Musk, who bought the social media site Twitter in 2022, said that the block function “makes no sense” and that it will be “deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs [direct messages]”.

He said that users could still mute other accounts, which means they would not see their posts, but the muted accounts could still see and interact with theirs.

The block function allows a user to prevent specific accounts from contacting them, seeing their posts, or following them. It is often used as a way to avoid harassment, abuse, or unwanted messages from strangers or trolls.

Musk, who has described himself as a free-speech absolutist, has made several controversial changes to X since he acquired it. He renamed the platform from Twitter to X, introduced a paid subscription model that allows users to amplify their voices, and faced criticism for allowing hate speech and antisemitic content to flourish on the site. Some governments have accused him of not doing enough to moderate his content or comply with local laws.

However, critics said that the removal of the blocking feature will invite more bullying and stalking on the platform. They argued that this feature is essential for protecting users. 

Removing or limiting the block feature might also bring X into conflict with guidelines set by Apple’s App Store and Alphabet’s Google Play. Apple says: “Apps with user-generated content must have the ability to block abusive users.” Google Play Store says: “Apps must provide an in-app system for blocking user-generated content and users.”

Musk has not given a timeline for when the change will take effect, but he has said that he is open to feedback and suggestions from the X community. He has also hinted that he has more plans for X in the future, saying that he wants to make it into a super app.

Bryan is a geek at heart and a tech enthusiast by choice. He has a strong background in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations having worked in the telecommunications and banking sectors for over two decades. In his spare time, he enjoys watching clips on YouTube and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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