Twitter reverses update after backlash over blocking feature

Twitter tweaked the "block user" feature in order to simply mute the tweets and replies from a blocked user instead of completely making them invisible to the blocker. Additionally, the blocked user would continue to see the tweets from the blocker by visiting their profile.

However, these changes received a heavy backlash from the user community as tweets with #RestoreTheBlock hashtag started appearing. Many users who had been harassed by spammers and internet trolls expressed their displeasure with the new behaviour of the feature.

The company, which went public recently, took note of the users' concerns and held an emergency meeting on Thursday night to decide upon reverting the changes. Michael Sippey, Twitter's Product VP posted to the blog that, “We have decided to revert the change after receiving feedback from many users – we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe. Any blocks you had previously instituted are still in effect.” He added that though the current blocking method isn't ideal, they have reinstated it due to the privacy concerns from users and would be exploring better ways to implement "blocking" in the future.

It must be noted that though a user may be blocked, they can still view the tweets of the blocker when not signed-in as most users have public profiles.

Source: Digital Trends | Image via Twitter

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4 Comments

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Yeah, the Twitter situation right now isn't ideal as they say themselves. I don't think this move was right either, and further, as this article points out, if you block a user now, you have to move to a protected profile to stay hidden if the blocked user signs out to circumvent the block. People sometimes think about this and do, but this is really bending Twitter features in ways I don't think is intended.

Not sure if much can be done though, for as long as Twitter is an "open first" social network in contrast to Facebook which is "friends first".

Unless your account is "protected" even a blocked user will be able to view all the Tweets anyway when signed out? It's the same for 'public' Facebook posts, anyone can view them, even blocked Facebook users (signed out).

Exactly, if you're posting publicly then that's your demise in a way. Same with Facebook/Google+ Public stuff is public, private stuff is private.

True, but as the article states, twitter is more open so having protected view spoils the point of public debate and the whole hashtag discussion form.