Social media company X, formerly known as Twitter, will remove a protection that allows users to block other accounts, owner Elon Musk said Friday in another controversial move for the company. company he bought last year.
The Block on X feature allows users to block specific accounts from contacting them, viewing their messages, or following them.
“Blocking will be removed as a ‘feature’, with the exception of DMs,” Musk said in a post on the platform, referring to direct messages.
He said X will retain the mute feature, which blocks users from seeing specified accounts, but unlike blocking, doesn’t alert the other account to action.
The billionaire boss describes himself as a free-speech autocrat, but some critics say his approach is irresponsible. Researchers have found an increase in hate speech and anti-Semitic content on the platform since he took office, and some governments have accused the company of not doing enough to moderate the content. his content.
Removing or limiting blocking could cause X to conflict with the guidelines combined by Apple’s App Store and Alphabet’s Google Play.
Apple says apps with user-generated content must be able to block abusive users. The Google Play Store states that apps must provide a built-in system for blocking users and user-generated content.
X, Google and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Responding to a post by anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky calling for X to retain “an essential tool for keeping people safe online,” chief executive Linda Yaccarino defended Musk’s decision.
“User safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than current blocking and disabling. Please continue to give us feedback. yours,” Yaccarino posted.
The company said Musk will lead the product and engineering teams, while Yaccarino will lead all other teams, including the legal and sales teams.