Longtime users of the platform complained that the "block" function, which allows accounts to prevent themselves from seeing and interacting with specific accounts and keeps those accounts from engaging with them, is a crucial element of X.
Several noted that it was the only real way to not see content they do not want to see. The function is often employed by users to stop trolls who repeatedly spam or criticize them.
Musk made the controversial announcement over X on Friday, in response to an account questioning the utility of the feature.
FILE - Elon Musk, billionaire and chief executive officer of Tesla, at the Viva Tech fair in Paris, France, on Friday, June 16, 2023. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The account "Tesla Owners Silicon Valley" posted Friday, "Is there ever a reason to block vs mute someone? Give your reasons." The "mute" function is another option on X that allows viewers to simply screen posts from certain users from their feeds, but allows the muted account to continue seeing the muter's content. An account that's been muted by an individual user does not know it's been muted, whereas it is notified it's been blocked if it tries to view the blocker's account.
Musk replied to the account’s post directly, posting, "Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs."
Musk seemed to be alluding to a way that users could "block" certain users from messaging them directly on the app.
The billionaire tech guru added that the block function "makes no sense." However, disgruntled users flooded Musk’s reply, insisting that "block" is an important feature that needs to stay.
Conservative commentator Buck Sexton disagreed with Musk’s proposal, posting, "Blocking is one of the most important features on this site. Otherwise, it just turns into an echo chamber of harassment from the most vile idiots."
Conservative activist Billboard Chris slammed Musk’s call as well, writing, "Worst idea ever. Those who talk about controversial subjects will be flooded with trolls whose sole intent is to start fights and spread false info. My replies should not be a platform for haters and liars, never mind the ones who will dox."
He had another critique for Musk’s platform, adding, "Considering the reporting process through X is still dreadful, this is the least intelligent move you’ve made."
Countering the point made that muting does the same job as blocking in effect, the activist added, "All muting does is stop me from seeing people’s posts. They’re free to reply."
The "Wall Street Silver" account also slammed Musk’s idea, posting, "This is a huge mistake. Block is a critical feature on this app. Regretted minutes would skyrocket. There are certain evil people that users just don't want following them or replying to them. Scammers, cyber stalkers, etc."
He theorized, "I suspect many people would abandon X if they can't block the harassing accounts out of their lives."
Liberal journalist David Leavitt trashed the idea as well, posting, "Imagine not being able to understand why you’d want to block someone @elonmusk is actively destroying this site bit by bit."
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan, an outspoken critic of Musk, accused him of making yet another poor decision with his social media site. He wrote, "Bring back the Nazis. Let them get verified. Put ads next to them. And get rid of the Block feature. What could possibly go wrong?"
Conservative influencer Ashley St. Clair stated, "If the block feature is to be removed, there needs to be zero anonymity on X anymore. But it’s my understanding Elon sees the value in anon accounts. If we can’t block those stalking, harassing, and threatening, then remove anonymity so recourse can be sought through the law."
Prominent anti-Trump user David Weissman condemned the move for similar reasons, writing, "I block antisemites, and a mentally ill obsessed stalker who’s doxxed me, harasses me, and exploits my children. Yet Elon Musks thinks it’s ok to let these people back in your house."