Part of the X (née Twitter) roadmap? Off-handed reply? Simple attempt to get a rise out of people? Time will tell. The one thing we can say for sure is that X’s owner responded to a post on the platform today foreshadowing the potential removal of the block feature.
“Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs,” Elon Musk wrote. “Makes no sense.” The post was a response to a Tesla fan account who asked whether there was any reason to use block instead of mute.
Regarded as a safety feature by many users, the suggestion that block could be going the way of the service’s old verification system was greeted with backlash from concerned users.
Block is going to be deleted as a “feature”, except for DMs
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2023
“Twitter gives people a variety of tools to control their experience, including blocking,” the company writes on its help page. “Blocking helps people in restricting specific accounts from contacting them, seeing their Tweets, and following them. If you have been blocked by another account on Twitter, you can still block other accounts (including any that have blocked you).”
While Mute may still remain, the features are not the same. Block restricts fellow users from interacting with, viewing and following an account. Mute simply hides your posts from their stream. Users are not made aware that they have been muted. Musk adds that the block feature will remain for direct messages.
Blocking has become an increasingly essential feature for many users, as they’ve seen an uptick in spam replies on their timeline. Earlier backlash also found some users blocking X Blue/Twitter Premium accounts, as the feature began to prioritize their responses over non-paying users. Many public figures have also relied on the feature as a method of removing harassment from their feed.
When — and whether — the feature is made obsolete remains to be seen. If Musk were to reverse course prior to implementation, it wouldn’t be the first time. A day after announcing plans to remove the service’s light-mode option, the executive reversed course, stating, “A lot of people have asked to keep light mode, so we will, but the default will be dark and dim will be deleted.”