Users of X, formerly known as Twitter, can no longer block comments from unwanted followers, removing what was a key security feature, X owner Elon Musk said in a post recently.
“Blocking is only available for direct messages. We plan to remove blocking as a feature other than DMs,” Musk wrote.
Musk responded to a message from Tesla’s account Silicon Valley owners ask: “Is there ever a reason to block or mute someone?” The group behind the account promotes an electric car company of which Musk is the CEO.
Since buying Twitter last year for $44 billion, Musk has overhauled the company, fired many employees, reinstated previously banned accounts, and recently rebranded the company and platform as X. He did not give a reason or a deadline for removing the blocking feature but said in a follow-up that “there is no point” and that the mute feature is still available.
Users could use the block feature to ensure that hateful content and bullying would not appear in their posts in their feeds. The mute function only prevents an individual user from seeing unwanted replies but does not remove them from the feeds of others.
Twitter users have also long used the block feature to boycott and avoid seeing ads from certain brands or advertisers on the platform.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who is investing in the new Twitter venture alongside Musk, said in a post that the company should focus elsewhere.
“X should really address the bot and spam issues before removing blocks,” wrote Zhao, whose company owns one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.
Louis Jones, a longtime media and advertising executive who now works at the Brand Safety Institute, said Musk’s latest plan is deeply troubling because it could expose users to spam, threats, and other harmful content.
Jones wrote, “Musk’s relaxed approach to free speech is likely to have the dual effect of making bullying more common on the platform and stifling the free speech of users targeted by bullies and predators. It’s a downward spiral that can’t be good for X’s long-term success.“