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Elon Musk Announces Plan to Remove the Block Feature on X, in Violation of Apple and Google Play Store Guidelines

Elon Musk Announces Plan to Remove the Block Feature on X, in Violation of Apple and Google Play Store Guidelines

Elon Musk has announced a plan to remove the "block" feature on X, the app formerly known as Twitter.

Removing the ability for users to block abusive users violates both the Apple and Google Play Store's published guidelines.

The function currently allows users to prevent someone from being able to read their feed or comment on their posts.

"Block is going to be deleted as a 'feature,' except for [direct messages]," Musk said in a post on Friday. "It makes no sense."

"You will still be able to mute accounts and block users for [direct messages]," Musk replied to another user.

However, the plan may run into trouble as both the Apple and Google Play stores require apps with user interactions to provide a block option.

Apple's store review guidelines state:

Apps with user-generated content present particular challenges, ranging from intellectual property infringement to anonymous bullying. To prevent abuse, apps with user-generated content or social networking services must include:

A method for filtering objectionable material from being posted to the app
A mechanism to report offensive content and timely responses to concerns
The ability to block abusive users from the service
Published contact information so users can easily reach you

Google's Play Store guidelines state:
Apps that contain or feature UGC, including apps which are specialized browsers or clients to direct users to a UGC platform, must implement robust, effective, and ongoing UGC moderation that:

Provides an in-app system for blocking UGC and users

Musk immediately received extreme pushback on the plan, with tens of thousands of responses arguing against it.

"This is a terrible idea. By bringing back secret internal censorship and shadow-banning, while removing the ability of people to filter content and accounts for themselves, you’re super-charging the worst and most destructive aspects of the platform," Sean Davis of the Federalist replied."Let people choose for themselves what they want to see and who they want to interact with. Why is that so hard?"

Users as young as 13-years-old are currently allowed on the platform.

UPDATE: X developer Aqueel Miqdad has clarified that "We can make mutes stronger, like not allow people you mute to reply or quote you. We can also transfer you block list to mute list."

"Preventing an account from seeing your posts does not work in practice. Anyone with any intent can find out what you post by simply creating another account or logging out," Miqdad continued.

Miqdad added, "blocks are actually problematic in some cases. Some users block the people they want to harass and spam so they don't find out fast enough."

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