BlockFree: How To Keep Blocking Idiots on Twitter Without Elon Musk's Approval 😂
Did you hear? Twitter is planning to kill its critical blocking feature
Scroll down to get the scoop about our timely browser extension, BlockFree.
In a move that has left many experts and users alike scratching their heads, Elon Musk's recent proposal to remove the block feature on the newly branded social media platform X—formerly known as Twitter 🤡—raises alarm bells, especially for vulnerable communities.
Why does this matter?
These aren't just concerns about comfort or convenience; they are issues of safety, mental health, and the equitable use of online spaces in the face of a rising tide of global hatred against minorities.
The absence of a block function doesn't just represent a minor inconvenience; it translates into an increased vulnerability to harassment for the platform's users. For women, marginalized communities, and other groups frequently targeted by online abuse, the block feature serves as a vital self-defense mechanism against stalkers, trolls, and cyberbullies.
Without it, these individuals face heightened risks, turning the platform into an increasingly hostile environment. The emotional and psychological toll of such unremitting exposure to hate cannot be overstated. Targets of abuse, already carrying the weight of societal discrimination, may find the platform untenable, experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
Blocking is a pro-speech feature
Equally concerning is the silencing effect this change may wield. When individuals from marginalized groups know they can't block a harasser, they may choose not to speak up at all, effectively muting critical voices from important social and political conversations. This erosion of free speech and the resulting loss in diversity of perspective further enables an ecosystem that, under Elon Musk, already promotes inequality and discrimination.
Can he even do this? Who knows
The proposal's potential impact also casts a shadow over the platform's adherence to legal obligations and ethical norms. Discriminatory harassment is not just socially unacceptable; it's illegal under various jurisdictions. The removal of an essential protective measure could expose the platform to legal challenges, potentially seen as a failure in its duty of care toward users.
If we consider that both Apple and Google require social media apps to include a block feature to prevent abuse, the proposal, if implemented, could create a ripple effect, leading to its removal from these major app stores and causing an even further decline in user numbers.
Adding to this dicey situation is the impact on the platform's reputation and user trust. If X becomes synonymous with unchecked abuse and discrimination, it will induce a mass exodus of users, particularly those from communities who can ill afford the risk of remaining in a hostile environment.
This loss could result in yet another irrevocable dent in user trust—a damage that will likely never be fully repaired as Musk continues to drive X into the ground in the runup to the U.S. 2024 presidential election.
He sucks so bad omg make it stop
As the series of erratic changes continues to unfold under Elon Musk's leadership, each seems to pull the rug further out from under the feet of users, leaving them on increasingly shaky ground. Yet, none may be as earth-shaking as the proposed removal of the block feature—a function that serves not just as a tool for individual preference, but as a lifeline for those most at risk in digital spaces.
In a world grappling with rising polarization and hate, nobody can afford to deal with the outcomes associated with the willful elimination of tools designed to protect us.
No more exporting your blocked accounts…
Although Musk may not be able to pull this off, my partner and I decided to write some code once we realized that blocked accounts were no longer being exported in the Twitter Archive we each exported for ourselves.
The screen is blank in the place where the data was previously shown. The user is shown a link stating, “View list on Twitter”.
In fact, the only piece of data regarding blocking which fully exports at present into the .zip file you receive when you export your Twitter Archive is a total number of blocked accounts.
Ignoring this dude 🤣
How does BlockFree work?
Quite simply, it restores your control over who gets to interact with you.
The extension works by scraping your existing block list and applying it to filter out unwanted interactions on the web version of the platform.
In other words, it magically removes tweets and mentions from those you've chosen to block. This means that even if X goes ahead with the removal of the block feature, you'll still have a way to protect yourself from online harassment and ensure your feed remains a space you're comfortable in. What's more, the extension allows you to manually add new unwanted accounts to your block list so you can continue to customize your Twitter experience.
This privacy-conscious extension contains zero tracking, ads, or spyware, and works entirely in your browser, so you don’t need to login anywhere special or store data on someone else’s computer.
Furthermore, we're offering this browser extension on a "free or pay what you like" basis via the Ko-Fi platform. Why?
Because we believe that everyone should have the right to protect themselves online, regardless of their financial circumstances. Basic defensive features shouldn’t be profit centers for social media companies. Additionally, this offers a last-minute method of exporting your existing block list before the data potentially disappears from X, preserving the years of curated self-protection many of you have built up.
As far as we know, BlockFree is the only way to do this at present.
(Twitter Web/Desktop Only)
In an era where user agency is being increasingly compromised, tools like this browser extension, despite its highly uncertain shelf life, can serve as small but significant ways to reclaim control in the face of a belligerent billionaire.