Elon Musk’s modus operandi has always revolved around challenging orthodoxies and his recent notion of fading out the ubiquitous block button on his beloved rebranded social media platform, X, formerly known as TweetDeck, is causing ripples across the digital realm.

Under Musk’s stewardship, X’s trajectory appears to cater to a more discerning audience as heralded with the introduction of its paywall. However, it’s not without controversy, as The Washington Post spotlighted a covert act that resulted in the impeding of outgoing links to Instagram, The New York Times, and other platforms Musk evidently has an aversion for. What raised eyebrows further is this digital roadblock suddenly ceasing operation subsequent to a Washington Post expose. As such, while the withdrawal of the blocking feature might not be around the corner, it’s hard to shrug off its plausibility.

Offering solace to users when dealing with harassment or unwanted spam, the block button’s utility, particularly for celebrities and high-profile users has been of unequivocal importance. When microblogging opponent, Bluesky, overlooked the inclusion of a block button, it was flagged as a significant user inconvenience, prompting an immediate rectification. As Windows Central Editor-in-chief, Daniel Rubino articulately puts, “block is a form of moderation for users.” Although a similar feature, muting a user still leaves room for unwanted comments and stalking.

The technical implications of divorcing the block feature from the platform are another Pandora’s box waiting to be opened. Musk, notorious for his criticism of Twitter’s codebase stability while concurrently cutting down on technical staff, might find the removal of such a feature not only challenging but prove counterproductive, considering the platform’s pervious outages.

Often likening X and Twitter to a digital battleground championing unbridled communication and freedom of expression, Musk’s discomfort with the block feature is understandable. However, its removal could potentially be a complex puzzle, considering Silicon Valley heavyweights Apple and Google enforce guidelines stating social apps ought to facilitate block features. Google Play mandates an in-app system to block “user-generated content and users.” while iOS encourages “the ability to block abusive users from the service.” Despite Musk’s history of rule defiance, his track record shows he treads lightly when rivaling Apple.

Musk’s disdain for the block feature has been evident over the past months, advocating for a more potent mute functionality as a substitute. Musk’s contempt for sizable block lists and mass blocking drives against Twitter Blue subscribers formulate a massive part of his issue with the feature. However, his pattern of either delaying or altogether rescinding on his promised renovations leaves the fate of the block button hinging on a cloud of uncertainty.

Musk’s cavalier declaration about X’s block feature’s imminent dismissal on Friday depicts his simmering distaste for the feature. ‘Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’ except for DMs’ he posted and soon after added, ‘It makes no sense.’ Yet, how an internet bereft of the block button will look or function is a question on everyone’s minds.