(This article is authored by Alar)
X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, is facing a backlash from its users after its owner Elon Musk announced that he would remove the block feature, leaving only the mute option. Musk claimed that blocking other accounts “makes no sense” and that it would be deleted as a feature except for direct messages.
He wrote on Friday, “Block is going to be deleted as a “feature", except for DMs". “It makes no sense" the billionaire added. The Tesla fan account asked why someone would block instead of mute, prompting this post as a response from the Billionaire.
However, many users expressed their concerns about online harassment and privacy, and questioned Musk’s motives and authority to make such a drastic change. Musk’s decision to scrap the block feature came as a surprise to many X users, who rely on it to prevent unwanted interactions and protect themselves from abusive or harmful content. Blocking an account on X means that the blocked user cannot follow, message, view or interact with the blocker’s posts.
Muting an account, on the other hand, only removes their posts from the muter’s timeline, but does not prevent them from seeing or contacting the muter. Many users argued that blocking is a necessary and effective tool to create a safe and comfortable online space, and that muting is not enough to deter or stop harassment.
There has been speculation among certain users that Mr. Musk may have blocked critics and journalists who challenge him on X due to personal motivations or ego.Some suggested that he wanted to increase his own visibility and influence on the platform, or that he wanted to avoid being blocked by other influential figures or celebrities. Others accused him of violating X’s terms of service and user rights, and demanded that he reverse his decision or face legal action.
Musk’s announcement came amid a series of controversial changes that he has made to X since he acquired it for US$44 billion in October 2022. He has rebranded the platform from Twitter to X, changed its logo from a blue bird to a white X, introduced a paid subscription model called Blue, restricted access to X Pro (formerly Tweetdeck), and faced criticism for facilitating hate speech and misinformation on the platform.
He has also appointed Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of X in June 2023, after a poll showed that most users wanted him to step down. X has over 541 million monthly active users as of July 2023, but its popularity and reputation have been declining since Musk’s takeover.
Many users have expressed their dissatisfaction and frustration with Musk’s changes, and some have even migrated to other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Reddit or Telegram. It remains to be seen whether Musk will listen to his users’ feedback and restore the block feature, or whether he will continue to impose his vision and risk losing more users and trust.
Block is going to be deleted as a “feature”, except for DMs— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2023