Twitter users would’ve noticed more than a few angry friends yesterday, as the social media giant made some rather important changes to its block functionality, effectively turning it into more of a “Mute” button than a Block button. But after several million incarnations of all the anger 140 characters can muster, Twitter has done a rather impressive backflip. Ten out of ten.
The original change would hide the blocked users posts from you, but not you from them. Of course, if anyone wanted to simply see your tweets, they’d only need to log out – unless your account is private. But there’s something to be said for that additional barrier, and a crucial difference is that blocked users could retweet your messages to their followers, and potentially incite harassment.
But in a post on the Twitter Blog today, Vice President of Product Michael Sippey stated:
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.
Back to the status quo for now, then. We’re all for a “quiet” block – but this was more of a “non” block, and we’re guessing the crazy stalkers and exes of the world were denied access for a reason. Here’s hoping the next attempt at blocking involves blocking.