Auschwitz museum bashes Elon Musk for severely curbing ‘block’ feature on X

Memorial warns that inability to block antisemitic comments and Holocaust denial ‘would be a disservice’ to the victims of the Nazi death camp

Elon Musk waves on February 10, 2022, near Brownsville, Texas. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)
Elon Musk waves on February 10, 2022, near Brownsville, Texas. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

Billionaire businessman Elon Musk said Friday he would severely curtail the ability to block other users on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, drawing a rebuke from the Auschwitz museum.

Responding to a post on X from an account run by owners of Teslas, the electric car company he heads, Musk said the “block” feature would be removed except for direct messages.

“It makes no sense,” he wrote, without further elaborating.

The announcement was criticized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which said blocking “provides a way to protect the memory of people who suffered and were murdered” at the Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Describing the tool as “a practical measure,” the museum also said its complaints of hostile accounts go unanswered.

“Failing to address the antisemitic and Holocaust denial comments that appear under our posts commemorating the victims of Auschwitz would be a disservice to their memory,” the museum said. “We’ve chosen to block users who promote denial and hatred. This decision stems from our deep dedication to our mission. We need a secure space to do this.”

In an apparent retort to free speech arguments, the museum said interacting with those who “seek to abuse the memory of victims” flies in the face of its values.

“These individuals do not seek discourse; they aim to inflict pain. In this context, blocking is a necessary step to ensure that these harmful voices don’t persist in their repetitive attacks on memory,” it said, adding that social media sites have “significant moral responsibility” to “actively counter hate speech and halt its normalization.”

“A platform that disregards the need to defend the memory of the victims demonstrates a disregard for creating a respectful and empathetic online environment.”

The sun lights the buildings behind the entrance of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland; December 6, 2019. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The announced move was the latest change implemented by Musk to prompt denunciations from Jewish groups and comes weeks after he reinstated Ye, some eight months after the rapper formerly known as Kanye West was suspended for antisemitism.

Since Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last October, he has fired thousands of employees and cut moderation of content.

In December, he reinstated former US president Donald Trump’s Twitter account, although Trump has yet to return to the platform.

Last month, Musk and his newly hired chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, announced the rebranding of Twitter as X and said it would become an “everything app” that would allow users to handle all their finances as well as socializing.

Musk also killed off the Twitter logo, replacing the world-recognized blue bird with a white X.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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