Little Musk Who Cries ‘Wolf’ Daily Claims X Will ‘Delete’ the Block Feature, But No One Knows What That Even Means

Adi Robertson, reporting for The Verge:

Elon Musk says X’s — formerly Twitter’s — block feature is on the chopping block, repeating his long-standing gripe against the basic social networking feature. “Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs,” Musk said in an X reply on Friday. He followed up with another post: “It makes no sense.”

Twitter founder and multi-time former CEO Jack Dorsey (capitalization sic): “💯. mute only.”

Apple’s App Store Guidelines:

1.2 User-Generated Content

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

Excerpted from Google’s Play Store Policy Center on “User Generated Content”:

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:

  • Conducts UGC moderation, as is reasonable and consistent with the type of UGC hosted by the app; [...]
  • Provides an in-app system for reporting objectionable UGC and users, and takes action against that UGC and/or user where appropriate;
  • Provides an in-app system for blocking UGC and users;

Both platforms thus require social media apps to support users being able to block other users. Google’s language is unambiguous. The rub is how “blocking” is defined. If all Musk wants to do is changing blocking to mean that blocked users can still see tweets from users who blocked them, but can’t interact (reply, quote, retweet) with them, I think that’s fine. Blocked users can see those tweets by just opening a private/incognito browser tab as it stands. But if Musk wants to truly “delete” the block feature, he’s going to run right into Apple and Google’s app store rules. Google is arguably stricter than Apple about enforcing UGC rules, having kept Donald Trump’s Truth Social app out of the Play Store for months (after it was available in Apple’s App Store) citing insufficient content moderation.

Saturday, 19 August 2023