X Won’t Be Able to Remove its Block Functionality, Despite Elon’s Statements

This is just another attention-grabbing exercise from Elon, so I don’t want to give it any air.

But to clarify, when Elon Musk says this:

Block is going to be deleted as a “feature”, except for DMs

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2023

That’s actually not going to happen.


Because it would violate both the Apple and Google Play Store guidelines, which would then render X ineligible to be hosted on either, effectively killing the app.

Which guidelines?

This one for the Apple Store:

And this clause for Google Play:

You might be able to argue that the wording of the Apple policy is somewhat vague, in that it doesn’t clearly stipulate whether individual users or the service must be able to block users. But the inference is clear, and it’s not up for interpretation at all in the Play Store listing.

Of course, Elon has seemingly been allowed to bend such rules in the past, on naming conventions for apps, and on content moderation, for example. So he may, possibly, be able to manipulate them again, though this really seems like a step too far, which neither Apple nor Google would be able to allow.

Why would Elon even want to remove blocks?

Because it reduces ad impressions, by limiting content exposure. There’s really not much other logic, though Elon has also complained in the past that supporting block lists is problematic for X’s systems.

The giant block lists are problematic. They mess up the recommendation system & create a DDoS vector.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 12, 2023

Maybe that’s the motivation, maybe not. It’s not entirely clear.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino has since gone into damage control, in an attempt to soften Elon’s statement.

Our users’ safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than the current state of block and mute. Please keep the feedback coming. https://t.co/ekIvyOhRqQ

— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) August 19, 2023

But I don’t see any pathway to this actually happening, given the stated App Store rules.

So this is more of Elon firing off takes without thinking, which helps to get him more attention, and maybe X as well.

But no, this isn’t going to happen in reality.

And here I am playing along, and feeding into the Musk media machine.

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