Twitter Kills Blocking, Then Revives It After Massive Backlash

Business Insider
Analyzing the top news stories across the web
Dec. 13 2013 8:06 AM

Twitter Kills Blocking, Then Revives It After Massive Backlash

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You can block @Jack Dorsey again.

Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images

Yesterday, Twitter changed the way its "block" feature worked.

"Blocking" is a protective measure a user can take to never see a bothersome Twitter account again. When you block someone, that user disappears from your Twitter feed and you disappear completely from theirs.

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For a few hours, Twitter turned "blocking" into "muting." That meant other unwanted users could still see your tweets but you couldn't see theirs.

A lot of people freaked out, and in less than 24 hours, Twitter reversed the decision. The ability to block is back and fully functioning. Twitter says it doesn't want to release product updates that make its users feel less safe. Here's the blog post:

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.

Alyson Shontell is a senior reporter at Business Insider. Follow her on Twitter.

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