Related video: Twitter accused of briefly delaying links to sites disliked by Elon Musk
Not content with angering Twitter/X users by doubling down on his intention to scrap the platform's block feature, Elon Musk has shocked people with yet another update to the social media network by breaking t.co links used to share images - with Ellen Degeneres's viral Oscars selfie temporarily disappearing from its accompanying tweet.
The former talk show host's snap from the 2014 ceremony became a big part of internet history when it was, for a period, the most-retweeted tweet on Twitter, but for several hours this weekend, the tweet came without the famous photo attached.
Tech writer Tom Coates spotted the issue on Saturday, noting that "all media posted before 2014" had been removed from Twitter/X - albeit with some exceptions, such as Barack Obama's tweet celebrating his being elected for another four terms in office.
And of course, X users weren't happy with this latest decision taken by Musk's platform:
The issue of disappearing media comes after Musk followed-up on comments he made back in May that users “blocking public posts” on his social media network “makes no sense”, and that the tool “needs to be deprecated” and replaced with “a stronger form of mute”.
While blocking stops an account from viewing your tweets, ‘mute’ means the user – provided you don’t follow them back - can still interact with your posts without you being notified about it, and them being aware of that fact.
Now, in response to a tweet from the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley account about the reason why someone would block or mute an account on X, Musk again stressed the block feature is “going to be deleted as a ‘feature’”, with the exception of direct messages or ‘DMs’.
To the surprise of hardly anybody, Musk’s plans proved immensely unpopular with other X users – including in the Community Notes feature, where it was pointed out that both Google and Apple require the presence of a block feature in order for an app to be listed on their app stores:
Under section 1.2 of Apple’s App Store Review guidelines, “social networking services” have to include “the ability to block abusive users from the service”, while Google states apps featuring user-generated content (UGC) must “implement robust, effective, and ongoing UGC moderation” which includes providing an “in-app system for blocking UGC and users”.
And as if being embarrassed by a feature on his own social media platform once wasn't enough, when Musk tried to dismiss the Community Note about App Store and Google Play policies on blocking as "incorrect" and being "voted away" by users, another Community Note appeared to point out he was wrong once again:
It seems Musk is now getting fed up with the criticism, as after one user asked how X will be "any different from Jack Dorsey's horrid Twitter" if Musk "removes the ability to block concerted harassment by trolls or organised political entities", the Tesla founder offered the drastic recommendation that the individual "delete [their] account":
“We’re building something better than the current state of block and mute. Please keep the feedback coming,” she wrote.
Aqueel Miqdad, a software engineer at X, elaborated on possible upgrades to muting in his thread responding to concerns, saying this could include “not [allowing] people you mute to reply or quote you”.
While blocked individuals are unable to do that at present, Miqdad appeared to suggest the feature will be changed so that ‘muted’ users can still see the post – just not interact with it.
He continued: “Preventing an account from seeing your posts does not work in practice. Anyone with any intent can find out what you post by simply creating another account or logging out.”