Elon Musk announced that Twitter, now known as X, is removing the ability for users to block unwanted followers on the social media platform. However, the X owner said people will still be able to prevent other users from contacting them via direct messages.
The decision drew a backlash from people who have long considered the blocking feature an important security measure to avoid abuse, spam, and hateful posts. But Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey appeared to agree with Musk, posting: “100%. Mute only.”
Musk says blocking ‘makes no sense’
Writing on Twitter, Elon Musk said the blocking option will be “deleted as a feature” because it “makes no sense.” The decision does not affect direct messages, he said.
The billionaire made the comment in response to a tweet from the account of Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, asking, “Is there ever a reason to block vs mute someone?” The account is run by a group that promotes the electric car maker headed by Musk, the world’s richest person.
Block is going to be deleted as a “feature”, except for DMs
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2023
Currently, when someone blocks another user on Twitter, the blocked account will not be able to see the blocker’s tweets, send them direct messages, or view the blocker’s profile.
Observers say if the ability to block people is removed, X would violate the policies of the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. Potentially, this could lead to X being removed from the two platforms. There are no such policies for the web app, however.
Musk did not explain when Twitter plans to do so. However, he said that he believes the mute function, which allows users to hide tweets from a particular account without blocking them, will be enough.
Decision raises stink
Musk has made several changes to Twitter since taking over the company last year in a deal worth $44 billion. He sacked thousands of employees, reinstated banned accounts, and recently renamed the site to X.
The decision to remove the option to block is the latest of the changes – and, as with many of Musk’s announcements, it has drawn much criticism. There is concern the move could allow abuse, hate, and other malicious content to flourish on X.
“Goofy ass idea,” one user shouted. “People can say whatever they want but others should be allowed to lock their doors and not listen to it. Insane stalkers, doxers, and general parasocial weirdos who follow people around everywhere. Plus porn, gore, OF spam and spam bots.”
“I’ve had to block people who were trying to find out where I live and find out about my children. It’s an essential feature for privacy concerns.”