Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, now referred to as X, revealed plans to eliminate the functionality that enables users to block other accounts. This move has generated controversy, adding to a series of unconventional decisions since Musk’s acquisition of the company last year.
The block feature on X has allowed users to prevent specific accounts from engaging with them, viewing their posts, or following them, says Elon Musk.
Musk shared in a post on the platform that the block feature would be phased out as a ‘feature,’ except for direct messages (DMs). He clarified that the mute function, which allows users to screen out certain accounts without alerting them, will remain intact.
Musk, known for his free speech advocacy, has faced criticism for his platform handling. Critics argue that his approach is irresponsible, as there has been a noted increase in hate speech and antisemitic content on X since his takeover. Some governments have accused the platform of inadequate content moderation.
This decision to eliminate or restrict the block feature could clash with the guidelines established by Apple’s App Store and Google Play, operated by Alphabet.
Apple mandates that apps with user-generated content incorporate the ability to block abusive users. Similarly, Google Play Store requires apps to provide an in-app system for blocking user-generated content and users.
No immediate comments were received from X, Google, or Apple in response to requests for insight into this decision.
In response to a post by anti-bullying advocate Monica Lewinsky, who urged X to retain this “critical tool to keep people safe online,” Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino defended Musk’s strategy. Yaccarino emphasized that user safety remained their top priority and hinted at a forthcoming improvement over the existing block and mute functionalities.
It has been communicated that Musk will oversee the product and engineering teams, while Yaccarino will lead other departments, encompassing legal and sales. As X navigates this transformative phase, opinions remain divided regarding the implications of this decision for user safety and the platform’s content ecosystem.
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