It looks as though Twitter, now known as X, is poised to make itself unusable by the public sector.
Seeing as how the $44 billion dollar platform that Elon Musk bought is used by almost every public sector body in the UK this is quite a big thing.
Let me explain.
The personality entrepreneur has announced that the block function is to be abolished.
The block tool until now enabled users to stop abusive users of the platform from targeting them. In the absence of moderation the piece of functionality is nigh-on essential to weed out the worst offenders from abusing the staff who monitor them.
The HSE in the UK say that violence in the workplace is unacceptable and abuse is classed as violence in the workplace. In their guidance on the matter they require employers to have processes in place to stop this from happening. It’s the piece of guidance that explains why a coffee shop or a post office has a sign that says abuse won’t be tolerated.
The effect of removing the block function is that whoever wants to stand there abusing staff is free to do so. In other words, if this was a post office staff would effectively have to stand there taking abuse.
Clearly, this state of affairs isn’t acceptable.
Now, wise voices have pointed out that Twitter, now known as X, like all social channels must have a block function in order to be stocked in the Apple store and Google Play. But other voices have pointed out that this wouldn’t be the first time that Musk has played brinksmanship games with the Apple store.
If Elon Musk backs down and agrees to keep the block button then public sector people who can still set out a business case for the platform can realistically keep using it.
If he doesn’t, any employer insisting that the former blue bird platform is used is asking its staff to break Health and Safety at Work legislation. Breaking this legislation can lead to a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.
This particular piece of Elon Musk posturing has high stakes for those who monitor social media accounts and their employers.