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Elon Musk reiterates his plan to remove block feature from X

2 Mins read

Elon Musk, owner of X (formerly known as Twitter), has said that the microblogging site will remove the block feature from its service.

In a series of tweet used to express himself, Musk said that the block function “makes no sense” and that it will be “deleted as a ‘feature,’ except for DMs.” The conversation started when Tesla Owners Silicon Valley – an X account belonging to a club of Tesla Owners – asked if there’s a difference between Blocking and Muting.

Following the removal of the block feature, X users will only be able to mute other users, which allows someone to remove another account’s posts from their timeline, without unfollowing or blocking them. On the other hand, blocking a user on the platform prevents that user from interacting with an account. As such, the blocked account will not be able to see the user’s tweet, quote their tweet or address them directly. The blocked user knows when they have been blocked.

At the time of publishing this report, it is unknown when the feature will be removed. Musk has a long list of promises that have not been fulfilled and some that have been shelved outrightly, so it is also possible that this could join the list. One will wonder how this feature can be removed without violating the terms of use of both Google and Apple app stores which require that apps should provide the ability to block users, especially on apps that exhibit user-generated content.

Section 14.3 of the Terms of Service for the App Store about User Generated Content says:

“Apps that display user generated content must include a method for filtering objectionable material, a mechanism for users to flag offensive content, and the ability to block abusive users from the service.”

Reacting to this, Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Musk will not follow through with the statement. “If your app hosts user-created content, you need to give them the ability to block abusive users,” she said.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey posts his agreement with removing the option to block, replying: “100%. Mute only.”

Read also: Undress AI, Deepfakes, and the need to regulate the unethical use of Artificial Intelligence

However, with the look of things, the Mute feature on X provides a similar option that follows Apple’s rules, and this might create an avenue for Musk to pull the block feature. Muting is also a kind of moderation, but muted users can still stalk your posts or make unwanted replies that are seen by other people, making this even more complicated.

Musk has been outspoken about his reservation for the block feature. In June, he said that Twitter should remove blocking and replace it with “a stronger form of mute.” He also complained about large block lists and mass blocking campaigns against users who subscribe to Twitter Blue.

This is a developing story, and we awaits further move by X on this feature, if there will be any move at all.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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