X is the new name of the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, which was acquired by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk last year for $44 billion. X allows users to post short messages, called tweets, and interact with other users through likes, replies, and retweets.
Blocking is a feature that allows users to prevent another user from seeing or interacting with their tweets. Blocking is often used as a way to protect oneself from harassment, abuse, spam, or unwanted content on the platform. Blocking also stops the blocked user from sending direct messages to the blocker.
What did Elon Musk say about blocking?
On Friday, Elon Musk announced on X that he plans to remove the blocking feature, except for direct messages. He claimed that blocking “makes no sense” and that users can still use the mute function to avoid seeing tweets from unwanted accounts.
Mute is a feature that allows users to hide tweets from another user without notifying them. However, muting does not stop the muted user from seeing or replying to the muter’s tweets, which can still appear on other users’ timelines.
Elon Musk did not provide any explanation or timeline for his decision, which was met with criticism and backlash from many X users and experts.
How did X users and experts react?
Many X users expressed their anger and frustration at Elon Musk’s decision, saying that it will make the platform more unsafe and toxic for them. Some users said that they rely on blocking to avoid seeing abusive, hateful, or spammy content on their timelines. Others said that they use blocking as a form of protest or boycott against certain accounts or brands.
Some experts also warned that removing blocking could violate the terms and conditions of app stores like Apple’s App Store and Google Play, which require social media apps to provide tools to filter harassment or bullying. They said that removing blocking could also discourage free speech and encourage bullying on the platform.
Some of the reactions from X users and experts are:
- “This is a huge mistake. There are toxic people on this platform that I simply do not want to interact with in any way. Blocking is essential for my mental health and safety.” – @Xuser123
- “X should really solve the bots & spam problems before removing blocks. Just my 0.02.” – @cz_binance, CEO of Binance, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges and an investor in X.
- “Blocking is a key security feature to avoid harassment and exposure to spam or hateful posts. Removing it will make X more unsafe and unappealing for many users.” – @louisjones, media and advertising executive at Brand Safety Institute.
- “100%. Mute only.” – @jack, former founder of Twitter, who seemed to agree with Elon Musk’s decision.
What are the implications of removing blocking?
Removing blocking could have significant implications for the future of X and its users. Some of the possible consequences are:
- More harassment, abuse, and spam on the platform, as users will not be able to stop unwanted accounts from seeing or interacting with their tweets.
- Less diversity and inclusion on the platform, as users who face discrimination or hate speech will not be able to block their harassers or protect themselves from harmful content.
- Less user satisfaction and retention on the platform, as users who value their privacy and safety will be more likely to leave X or switch to other platforms that offer blocking features.
- Less revenue and growth for X, as users who block ads or brands will be more exposed to them, which could reduce their engagement and loyalty to the platform.
What are the alternatives to blocking?
For users who are unhappy with Elon Musk’s decision to remove blocking, there are some alternatives they can consider:
- Making their account private, which means that only approved followers can see their tweets and send them direct messages.
- Reporting abusive or spammy accounts to X, which could result in their suspension or removal from the platform.
- Using third-party apps or tools that offer blocking features or filters for X.
- Leaving X or using other social media platforms that offer blocking features.