Wednesday, August 23, 2023 by Kevin Hughes
Billionaire tech giant Elon Musk is receiving massive backlash from users of social media platform X, formerly Twitter, after he indicated his desire to remove the ability of users to block specific accounts.
Musk made the announcement on Friday, August 18, indicating his desire to remove the block feature for public interactions with other accounts, claiming that the feature “makes no sense.” The block feature will be kept in place to permit users to block private or direct messages (DMs) from certain accounts.
Once these new features have rolled out, users will only be able to “mute” individuals, which will allow X users to remove another account’s posts from showing up on their timeline without either unfollowing or blocking them. The muted user’s posts will remain visible but a user will only be able to view them by going out of their way to search them.
The news was met with massive backlash, as blocking has commonly been the way social media users on Twitter and other platforms prevent unwanted accounts from bombarding their posts. These and many other users see the change as only being beneficial to advertisers – who Musk and his new CEO Linda Yaccarino are actively trying to court – and they believe the effects will largely be negative for many people who depend on the block feature to keep their online experience free from the kinds of users they do not want to interact with. (Related: Twitter parent company X Corp sues Center for Countering Digital Hate over “scare campaign” that drove away advertisers.)
This is also seen as a negative for people who want to avoid vulgarity, threatening, violent and obscene material as well as people who want to avoid stalking and harassment.
Theoretically, content moderation is presumed to eliminate content that violates the site’s rules.
“Our users’ safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than the current state of block and mute,” said Yaccarino. “Please keep the feedback coming.”
Unfortunately for Musk, he will have to deal with the possibility that removing the blocking feature from Twitter could be seen as a violation of the terms and conditions for app stores like Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store.
The inability to filter harassment or bullying could mean X is no longer downloadable from those online app stores.
A “community note” attached to Musk’s tweets announcing his desire to remove the block feature stated: “If the ability to block users was to be removed, X would be in violation of the policies of the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. Potentially, this could lead to X being removed from these platforms. There are no such policies for the web-app however.”
Apple said apps with user-generated content must have the ability for users to block abusive content. Google Play Store apps must provide an in-app system for blocking users and user-generated content.
Follow BigTech.news for more news about Big Tech companies like X.
Watch X CEO Linda Yaccarino as she talks about their new policy called “freedom of speech not freedom of reach.”
This video is from the Thrivetime Show channel on Brighteon.com.
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