App Store terms probably won't stop X from turning off the block feature

Posted:
in General Discussion

Nearly immediately after Elon Musk announced that he was going to kill the ability to block other users from a feed, App Store terms and conditions were said to be a problem for the action. Here's why that's probably not the case.




In a post, Elon Musk said in response to a question by a group of Tesla owners that X was going to soon stop the ability for users to completely block other users on the main feed. This doesn't apply to direct messages, apparently, with Musk intending users to mute other X users.

A X block not only means that the blocking user can't see what the blocked user posts, but the blocked user also doesn't have access to the blocking user. A mute still allows the muted user to see what the user doing the muting posts.

The user complaints about it began almost immediately. Advocacy groups decried the change, arguing that it will make the service more hostile and less safe for users.

Users saw a potential conflict with the action and the App Store's terms and conditions.

Musk's decision to eliminate the block feature is in direct violation of App Store guidelines & will lead to X's removal from the App Store, if implemented

I predict Elon isn't aware of this & will backtrack -- saying he was "trolling" or "joking" -- and his followers will buy it pic.twitter.com/cHnfHNYZex

— LeGate (@williamlegate)



Specifically, Section 14.3 of the Terms of Service for the App Store about User Generated Content was cited.

14.3 - Apps that display user generated content must include a method for filtering objectionable material, a mechanism for users to flag offensive content, and the ability to block abusive users from the service



The mute function on X likely meets the first criteria. The second criteria is met by existing X post reporting tools.

The third criteria, the "ability to block abusive users from the service" is what has been cited by commenters as why Musk may not take the step of cutting off user blocking.

Admittedly, the language in the Terms of Service for this particular case is vague. As implemented so far, and as it has been historically enforced to date, this third criteria applies to the host service being able to block and kick out users, and has not mandated service users having the explicit ability to block other users.

And, arguably, X could say that the mute function paired with the continued ability to block direct messages from users fulfills the third criteria.

As with the rest of the moves on X, it's not clear when the removal will happen. Historically, other than layoffs, it's taken months for these changes to take place from owner decree to execution.

But, Friday's announcement isn't the first time that Musk has said that the ability to block other users was, in his eyes, questionable. It's unclear if preliminary steps have already been taken to remove the feature.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Abandon Twix. 
    Anilu_777drdavidwatto_cobradarkvader
  • Reply 2 of 21
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,215member

    Oh, hail thee great Musk.... (bows to the great one)

    Blocking gets abused too much by those that want to have the last word without hearing a rebuttal, so I applaud this experimental change.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra9secondkox2
  • Reply 3 of 21
    The “spirit of the law” is quite clear in Apple Developer Guidelines. Removing the ability for someone to block another account eliminates their ability to prevent “bullying”, an activity clearly stated by Apple in more than one area of their guidelines.

    Direct messages are only one way to bully someone. Constantly showing up in a persons threads and making comments is another form of bullying. I think Apple will respond if Musk removes the ability for users to block any account they wish.
    williamlondondrdavidAlex1Nwatto_cobrazoetmb
  • Reply 4 of 21
    mejsricmejsric Posts: 152member
    no one talk about that we cant block Youtube channels too?
    zeus423williamlondonFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra9secondkox2
  • Reply 5 of 21
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 227member
    Abandon Twix. 
    It's one of my favorite candy bars.  :)
    Alex1Nwatto_cobradarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 21
    PaulBiC said:
    How on God's given Earth would Apple even play this roulette game.  What is the point.

    What the heck are you even talking about?! Apple hasn’t done anything. Zero. Elmo is doing stupid things on his goth named website “X”. 

    Also, what the hell kind of analogy is this? A roulette game?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    PaulBiC said:
    The “spirit of the law” is quite clear in Apple Developer Guidelines. Removing the ability for someone to block another account eliminates their ability to prevent “bullying”, an activity clearly stated by Apple in more than one area of their guidelines.

    Direct messages are only one way to bully someone. Constantly showing up in a persons threads and making comments is another form of bullying. I think Apple will respond if Musk removes the ability for users to block any account they wish.

    Appleinsider has blocked 5 accounts of mine - They can correct me - They will block me shortly. 
    And nothing of value was lost
    roxsockswilliamlondonwatto_cobradarkvader9secondkox2
  • Reply 8 of 21

    Oh, hail thee great Musk.... (bows to the great one)

    Blocking gets abused too much by those that want to have the last word without hearing a rebuttal, so I applaud this experimental change.

    Abused? Freedom of association (which includes freedom to not associate) means I am not required to listen to someone’s bs. No matter how much you personally value getting “the last word”. 
    roxsockswilliamlondonwatto_cobrazoetmb9secondkox2StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 21
    The “spirit of the law” is quite clear in Apple Developer Guidelines. Removing the ability for someone to block another account eliminates their ability to prevent “bullying”, an activity clearly stated by Apple in more than one area of their guidelines.

    Direct messages are only one way to bully someone. Constantly showing up in a persons threads and making comments is another form of bullying. I think Apple will respond if Musk removes the ability for users to block any account they wish.
    I guess the "spirit of the law" is whatever you believe it to be. X still retains the right to block users from the service. If an individual doesn't like another individual's posts, then the offended individual can just block the posts from showing up on their feed. How are you offended if you don't see it? How is it up to an individual person to decide if someone should be blocked from the service altogether. For example: I personally feel that Elon Musk is an extremist, so I unfollowed him. Now, I no longer see his crazy ass posts. If you like his vile filth, then you can follow him. How does it affect me, if I don't personally see his posts?
    edited August 2023 muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,024member
    drdavid said:

    Oh, hail thee great Musk.... (bows to the great one)

    Blocking gets abused too much by those that want to have the last word without hearing a rebuttal, so I applaud this experimental change.

    Abused? Freedom of association (which includes freedom to not associate) means I am not required to listen to someone’s bs. No matter how much you personally value getting “the last word”. 
    That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights.

    Now I'm never been on twitter (X), but I'm assuming the "mute" function on twitter (X) works the same way as on most of the other forums that I am familiar with. Including this one. "Muting" protects my right to "freedom of association" by not having to see any of the comments of the user that I don't agree with and "blocking" would be me censoring the user whose comments I don't agree with, by preventing them from commenting at all.    
    edited August 2023 muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonwatto_cobra9secondkox2
  • Reply 11 of 21
    wdowellwdowell Posts: 226member
    Let’s get real here - Apple doesn’t give a *****. They’re getting their commission from Blue and that’s that. 
    PaulBiCwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 21
    davidw said:
    drdavid said:

    Oh, hail thee great Musk.... (bows to the great one)

    Blocking gets abused too much by those that want to have the last word without hearing a rebuttal, so I applaud this experimental change.

    Abused? Freedom of association (which includes freedom to not associate) means I am not required to listen to someone’s bs. No matter how much you personally value getting “the last word”. 
    That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights.

    Now I'm never been on twitter (X), but I'm assuming the "mute" function on twitter (X) works the same way as on most of the other forums that I am familiar with. Including this one. "Muting" protects my right to "freedom of association" by not having to see any of the comments of the user that I don't agree with and "blocking" would be me censoring the user whose comments I don't agree with, by preventing them from commenting at all.    

    As I said before, freedom to associate is also freedom to not associate. Your freedom to associate has limits. It is limited to people who are willing to associate with you. And no one is obligated to. 
    williamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobrazoetmbdarkvaderStrangeDays
  • Reply 13 of 21
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,271member
    Surely Apple would have to drop all ad spend on Twitter if they weren't a fit platform for an Appstore slot.
    It would be like them advertising on a porn sight. 

    Also, it should be noted how X's create platform moderation works is very much a second strike on this rule.
    wdowellAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    davidw said: That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights. 
    1st Amendment rights have ZERO RELEVANCE TO PRIVATELY OWNED SERVICES. Elon Musk can ban, censor or encourage whatever speech he wants BECAUSE ELON MUSK HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH. 1st Amendment rights are specific to government actions because that's where your freedoms actually come from: the government, not the private sector. 

    Anyone who thinks Elon Musk is protecting their freedom of speech or 1st Amendment rights with his actions on a social media app is completely mistaken. 
    edited August 2023 wdowelldettmuthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonilarynxAlex1Ndrdavidwatto_cobrazoetmbfreeassociate2
  • Reply 15 of 21
    davidw said: That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights. 
    1st Amendment rights have ZERO RELEVANCE TO PRIVATELY OWNED SERVICES. Elon Musk can ban, censor or encourage whatever speech he wants BECAUSE ELON MUSK HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH. 1st Amendment rights are specific to government actions because that's where your freedoms actually come from: the government, not the private sector. 

    Anyone who thinks Elon Musk is protecting their freedom of speech or 1st Amendment rights with his actions on a social media app is completely mistaken. 
    Thank you! 

    It is astounding how many U.S. citizens fundamentally don’t understand the First Amendment. 
    dettmuthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonilarynxAlex1Ndrdavidwatto_cobrazoetmbfreeassociate2StrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 21
    davidw said: That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights. 
    1st Amendment rights have ZERO RELEVANCE TO PRIVATELY OWNED SERVICES. Elon Musk can ban, censor or encourage whatever speech he wants BECAUSE ELON MUSK HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH. 1st Amendment rights are specific to government actions because that's where your freedoms actually come from: the government, not the private sector. 

    Anyone who thinks Elon Musk is protecting their freedom of speech or 1st Amendment rights with his actions on a social media app is completely mistaken. 
    Thank you! 

    It is astounding how many U.S. citizens fundamentally don’t understand the First Amendment. 
    Or the others. Or the rest of the U.S. Constitution - which can be found here: 

    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs

    Somewhat related to Elon's relationship to free speech as well as those at one time complaining about alleged collusion between X/itter and those in government positions: 

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2023/08/17/as-xitters-lawyer-stalled-doj-elon-musk-met-with-jim-jordan-twice-and-kevin-mccarthy/


    Alex1Nwatto_cobrafreeassociate2
  • Reply 17 of 21
    davidw said: That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights. 
    1st Amendment rights have ZERO RELEVANCE TO PRIVATELY OWNED SERVICES. Elon Musk can ban, censor or encourage whatever speech he wants BECAUSE ELON MUSK HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH. 1st Amendment rights are specific to government actions because that's where your freedoms actually come from: the government, not the private sector. 

    Anyone who thinks Elon Musk is protecting their freedom of speech or 1st Amendment rights with his actions on a social media app is completely mistaken. 
    This isn’t exactly true or as clear cut as people make it out.  See Marsh V Alabama.  But the basic idea is that the more a private business acts as part of the public infrastructure the more the constitutional restrictions apply to them.  

    And we already intuitively know this.

    would we allow phone providers (private companies) to deny service to people for any arbitrary reason?  I.e people who may support a law regulating phone companies?

    what about internet providers,  they catch you supporting Net Neutrality laws,  and now you can’t use the internet?

    What about privately operated bridges?  Can they deny you access because you have a Biden 2024 sticker?


    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,024member
    davidw said: That's the function of "mute". That is still available. A user can "mute" another user and not ever have to see any of their comments. That's your  right to "freedom of association". However, when a user "block" another user, that is preventing other users from exercising their "freedom of association". Even if the other users completely agree with you that the comments of the user you blocked, are BS, they might have a better understanding of the "spirit of the law" we here in the US refer to ....... as our 1st Amendment rights. 
    1st Amendment rights have ZERO RELEVANCE TO PRIVATELY OWNED SERVICES. Elon Musk can ban, censor or encourage whatever speech he wants BECAUSE ELON MUSK HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE'S RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH. 1st Amendment rights are specific to government actions because that's where your freedoms actually come from: the government, not the private sector. 

    Anyone who thinks Elon Musk is protecting their freedom of speech or 1st Amendment rights with his actions on a social media app is completely mistaken. 

    This is not about any private party service  but that of a private party service that in our "digital age", have become the "public forum". Even the SCOTUS have ruled that internet services that provides the public with a "soapbox to stand on", so to be heard by the masses, must/should adhere to the "Spirit of the Law" that is the 1st Amendment. 

    Section 230 is what protects internet services like twitter (X) from any liabilities caused the contents of their users. The reason Section 230 exist to so that private social network services that have become the "public forums", will not be forced to unreasonably censor, filter or moderate its users contents, for fear of being sued for hosting its users contents. But if the service take over too much control of who can post and what its users can post, then it begins to lose Section 230 protection, as their service would be more like a newspaper or publisher.  Which can be held liable for its contents.




    Yes, Elon Musk can do what he wants with his X social network, but he then take the chance of losing Section 230 protection and would end up being put out of business by the cost of defending all the lawsuits that would follow. No court will find him guilty for not protecting his users 1st Amendments rights but  he might find himself out of business, if he doesn't make a reasonable effort to do so.


    edited August 2023
  • Reply 19 of 21
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,543member
    We’ll see if musk actually even intends to go through with this. I think he’s doing a great job of fighting the ship overall, outside of a few mistakes. Apparently learning along the way with a huge investment at stake. 

    That said, this is an incredibly bad move if it’s aurhentic. The great art about free speech is that you can express yourself freely, regardless of who agrees with you. The other great part about that is you are free to get away from a stain who offends you, turn off the tv, change the channel, station, browse to a different site, put that book down, end the phone call, etc. but in the world of social media, blocking a user from your feed or direct contact (not that different from blocking a phone number)  is how you “do those things to “get away from that person.” 

    If you’re going to do great things like promoting free speech, you must also provide options for someone to “change the channel” so to speak while using your “cable service.” 

    I know a ton of people are in this guys ear trying to influence him, but he’s generally been a common sense guy. Hope that prevails. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 21
    I’m waiting for him to go full Zod and interrupt all activity on the platform to transmit his messages.
    darkvader
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