Responding to a tweet foreshadowing the potential removal of the block feature, X (formerly known as Twitter) chief Elon Musk on Friday announced a mercurial plan to remove the feature of blocking on its social media platform. But will this decision by Elon Musk result in its removal from the Apple App Store?
Taking to Twitter, Musk updated fans with the new option and tweeted, "Block is going to be deleted as a feature, except for DMs," Elon Musk wrote. The post was in response to a Tesla fan account asking if there was a reason to block rather than mute.
What does the block feature mean?
"Twitter gives people a variety of tools to control their experience, including blocking," the company wrote 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)."
Is it violating Apple App Store Guidelines?
In response to this, William LeGate, the CEO of Pillow Fight Co and the co-founder of GoodPillow on Friday pointed out that this decision by Elon Musk may be in violation with the guidelines set by Apple App Store. He also added a screenshot of the said guidelines to validate his points.
According to the Apple guidelines on User Generated content the app must include the ability to block abusive users from the service in order to prevent abuse. The website states:
"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."
But is this enough for the App Store to remove the app from the App store?
Not entirely as the app still allows users to report someone and get their accounts suspended. While this can be a tricky part, it still upholds the requirement of blocking abusive users from using the app.
In simple terms the rule means that the app should have the feature for users to report users that are abusive but it does not specify that users should have the ability to block each other. This indicates that Elon Musk's decision may not be in violation of the Apple App store guidelines.
Blocking has become an increasingly important feature for many users due to the increased number of spam responses on their timelines. Many public figures have also used this feature to remove harassment from their feed.
How are Mute and Block features different?
While the block feature will be removed mute may still remain, but the features are not the same. Blocking prevents other users from interacting with, viewing and tracking your account. Mute simply hide your post from their feed. Users are not notified that they have been muted. Musk adds that the blocking will remain in direct messages, according to TechCrunch.
It remains to be seen when and if the feature will be deprecated. It wouldn't be the first time Musk reversed course before a deployment. A day after announcing plans to take the service out of light mode, the admin reversed course, saying, “A lot of people have asked to keep light mode, so we will, but the default will be dark and dim will be deleted.”