Part of the X roadmap? Off-handed reply? Simple attempt to get a rise out of people? Time will tell, TechCrunch reported. The one thing we can say for sure is that X’s owner responded to a post on the platform (on August 18) foreshadowing the potential removal of the block feature.
“Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs,” Elon Musk wrote. “Makes no sense.” The post was a response to a Tesla fan account who asked whether there was any reason to use block instead of mute.
Regarded as a safety feature by many users, the suggestion that block could be going the way of the service’s old verification system was greeted with backlash from concerned users, TechCrunch reported.
“Twitter gives people a variety of tools to control their experience, including blocking,” the company writes on its help page. “Blocking helps people in restricting specific accounts from contacting them, seeing their Tweets, and following them. If you have been blocked by another account on Twitter, you can still block other accounts (including any that have blocked you).”
TechCrunch also reported that while Mute may still remain, the features are not the same. Block restricts fellow users from interacting with, viewing, and following an account. Mute simply hides your posts from their stream. Users are not made aware that they have been muted. Musk adds that the block feature will remain for direct messages.
Blocking has become an essential feature for many users, as they’ve seen an uptick in spam replies on their timeline. Earlier backlash also found some users blocking X Blue/Twitter Premium accounts, as the feature began to prioritize their responses over non-paying users. Many public figures have also relied on the feature as a method of removing harassment from their feed.
CNBC reported the users of X, formerly known as Twitter, will no longer be able to block comments from unwanted followers, according to a post by X owner Elon Musk on Friday, eliminating what’s long been viewed as a key safety feature. Blocking will only be available for direct messages, he said.
CNBC posted a screenshot between @teslaownersSV and @elonmusk, in which Mr. Musk stated that “Block is going to be deleted as a “feature”, except for DMs”.
The response had a “Readers Added Context” added to it: If the ability to block users was to be removed, X would be in violation of the policies of the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. Potentially, this could lead to X being removed from these platforms. There are no such policies for the web-app however.”
According to CNBC, Louis Jones, a longtime media and advertising executive who now works at the Brand Safety Institute, said Musk’s latest plan is very concerning as users could be inundated with spam, threats, and other harmful content.
Musk’s “lax approach to free speech,” is likely to have a “double effect,” making bullying more common on the platform and inhibiting free speech by those users who are targets of bullies and predators, Jones wrote in an email to CNBC. “It’s a downward spiral that cannot be good for the long term success of X.”
Personally, I’ve grown tired of what I see on the X desktop app. It appears that Elon Musk could take away the block feature from the web interface. However, if he tries to do that with the app, it will likely mean his X platform will disappear from the Apple Store and Google Play Store.