Users have expressed their concerns over their inability to block content deemed as hateful or offensive on the platform.
Elon Musk announced plans to remove the “block” feature on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday, sparking yet another online controversy.
“Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs,” the CEO of X said in response to a post on the platform on Friday.
The protective feature enables users to block users from viewing their accounts and interacting with them, providing them with the tools to have a safer experience on the platform.
However, the plan has sparked uproar on the social media platform, with users pointing to it being a violation of the conditions for the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, casting doubt over the potential implementation of the decision.
“Before you panic, a block feature is a requirement for social media apps to be published both in the app store and Google play. He’s just having another tantrum because someone showed him in the backend how many people have him blocked,” one user said on X with screenshots of the platforms’ policies.
The Apple App Store’s policies on user-generated content state that such platforms must include “a method for filtering objectionable material from being posted to the app” and a mechanism to report offensive content. It also states that platforms must have “the ability to block abusive users from the service”.
The Google Play policies state that platforms must provide “an in-app system for blocking UGC and users”.
If X strips the protective function, both the App Store and Google Play may decide to remove the platforms from their stores in violation of the user-generated content policies.
Both tech giants have yet to comment on Musk’s announced decision.
Other users have expressed their concerns over their inability to block content deemed as hateful or offensive on the platform.
“Looks like Musk wants to remove the block feature. So now I will be unable to block my stalkers and harassers! This is intended to produce abuse,” a concerned X user said.
Another user echoed their sentiment, saying: “By removing the block feature, it seems clear that Elon Musk wants the bullies and harassers to win on X. More evidence that Mr. Musk does not really have the public interest in mind, contrary to his rhetoric. If people cannot protect themselves here, there will be an exodus.”
Users also hit back by placing a Community Note regarding Musk’s announcement, saying: “Blocking is a basic safety feature that allows basic protection for victims of abuse and stalking. Removing this feature would compromise the safety of many people on social media.”
Musk replied to the note saying: “It makes no sense.
The X boss’s latest remarks following a series of shocking decisions that have been implemented since his takeover of the platform as part of a $44 billion deal.
Last month, Musk rebranded Twitter by naming it “X”, going against the Apple App Store’s name-length policy, reports stated at the time.
Last week, Musk reserved the platform’s TweetDeck (XPro) dashboard exclusively for premium Blue subscribers.
TweetDeck offers a streamlined approach to account management and scheduling. Payment plans are offered at QAR 29 per month or QAR 305 per year in Qatar.