Twitter (X) And the Block Button

There are plans afoot for the platform formerly known as Twitter (and now rather absurdly called X) to remove the block feature. Elon Musk considers himself a champion of free speech, and believes the block feature makes no sense. Users will be able to mute others, but will no longer be able to shield themselves, save for blocking private messages.

Hands up if you think Musk’s idea is awful. Yup, my hand is up. I’ve had reason to block several people on Twitter down the years, and now there’s a possibility they’ll come flooding back to be a nuisance. However, I am one of the relatively lucky ones. There will be people who will face a storm of harassment, be it along racial, sexual or homophobic lines. Trolls will gleefully hunt down people to hurt. ‘Mute them!’ Fine, but muting a troll does not stop them from accessing your content or leaving crude remarks for others to see. They can still quote you, and manipulate your tweets to unfairly frame your words. They can still try to poison opinion against you.

I am an advocate for freedom of speech, but I have often said that with freedom of speech comes the responsibility to use it wisely. No one has the right to be as abusive or cruel as they want, without consequences. Musk seems to have forgotten that.

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