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December 13, 2013

Twitter Restores Old Blocking Policy After Massive User Backlash

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Twitter has done some quick back-tracking after being overwhelmed with user complaints over its relaxed blocking policy.

The social network changed its policy yesterday so when you blocked someone, it simply meant you could not see the blocked person’s tweets. The blocked person, however, could still follow you.

“If your account is public, blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline,” Twitter wrote in its updated blocking policy.

The change did not go over well with Twitter users, who literally flooded the company with complaints and even a petition with hundreds of signatures.

Although CEO Dick Costolo said the policy change was requested by victims of abuse who were afraid of retaliation, many Twitter users were not buying the explanation.




The backlash had Twitter executives “rushing into a meeting” at the company’s San Francisco headquarters late Thursday to decide what to do, sources told Reuters.

Not long after, Twitter vice-president of product Micahel Sippey posted a brief statement on the company’s blog, saying Twitter had reverted to the original policy.

Below is the post in its entirety:
Earlier today, we made a change to the way the “block” function of Twitter works. 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.
In reverting this change to the block function, users will once again be able to tell that they’ve been blocked. We believe this is not ideal, largely due to the retaliation against blocking users by blocked users (and sometimes their friends) that often occurs. Some users worry just as much about post-blocking retaliation as they do about pre-blocking abuse. Moving forward, we will continue to explore features designed to protect users from abuse and prevent retaliation.
We’ve built Twitter to help you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. That vision must coexist with keeping users safe on the platform. We’ve been working diligently to strike this balance since Twitter’s inception, and we thank you for all of your support and feedback to date. Thank you in advance for your patience as we continue to build the best — and safest — Twitter we possibly can.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.