Aug 18 (Reuters) – Social media company X, formerly known as Twitter, will remove a security feature that allowed users to block other accounts, owner Elon Musk said on Friday in another controversial move for the company it bought last year.
The Block function in X allows you to restrict specific accounts from contacting a user, viewing their posts, or following them.
“With the exception of DMs, Block will be removed as a ‘feature,'” Musk said in a post on the platform, referring to direct messages.
X retains the mute function, which screens a user from viewing specific accounts, but unlike blocking, doesn’t alert other accounts to the action.
The billionaire owner has described himself as a free-speech libertarian, but some critics have called his approach irresponsible. Researchers have found an increase in hate speech and antisemitic content on the platform since he took over, and some governments have accused the agency of not doing enough to moderate its content.
Removing or limiting the block feature X may conflict with guidelines incorporated by Apple’s ( AAPL.O ) App Store and Alphabet’s ( GOOGL.O ) Google Play.
Apple says apps with user-generated content must have the ability to block abusive users. Google Play Store says it should provide an app-in-app system to block user-generated content and users.
X, Google and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Responding to anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky’s post urging X to keep a “critical tool to keep people safe online,” Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino supported Musk’s move.
“The safety of our users at X is our top priority and we are working on something better than the current blocking and blocking status. Please keep the feedback coming,” Yaccarino posted.
Musk will lead the product and engineering teams, the company said, while Yaccarino will lead all other teams, including legal and sales.
Reported by Mirunmai Dey in Bangalore; Editing: William Mallard
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