Twitter reverses policy that would allow blocked persons to follow user

Twitter said it is was reversing the policy after receiving feedback from many users

Twitter has reversed a controversial policy change announced Thursday that would let a user block others on Twitter, but the blocked people could still continue to follow and see the user's tweets and interact with them.

"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," wrote Michael Sippey, Twitter's vice president of product, in a blog post.

The policy changes proposed by Twitter earlier in the day came in for sharp criticism from users.

Before the new policy, if a user was being harassed or trolled by spam accounts, clicking the "block" button would prevent the persons from following the user and also remove them from mentions and timeline, according to a petition on Change.org.

"Now, even if you block someone who is harassing you, that person becomes invisible to you but they are free to follow you and RT you into their timeline," wrote petitioner Zerlina Maxwell.

Her petition had collected 1,500 signatures a few hours after it was put up.

Twitter's proposed new blocking policy stated that when a user blocked someone, the user would no longer see the person in the follower list, any updates from that person in their home timeline, or their replies or mentions in the Connect tab on Twitter.

The blocked person would also not be aware of being blocked. "Now when you block a user, they cannot tell that you've blocked them," said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in a Twitter message, adding that it was a long-standing request from users of block.

But "blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline," if your account is public, according to the now-reversed policy update. If the user's tweets are protected and available to a select group then blocking the person will cause them to unfollow the user, it added.

On Twitter, users said that the new policy would make a variety of abuse easier. "If Twitter sticks to this new block policy we're going to see people go protected. Less community. More walled gardens. Everyone loses," one user wrote in a Twitter message.

Under the earlier policy now reinstated, unprotected tweets are visible on a user's public profile page to anyone, regardless of whether they have a Twitter account or not.

After reverting the change to the block function, users will once again be able to tell that they've been blocked, Sippey wrote. "We believe this is not ideal, largely due to the retaliation against blocking users by blocked users (and sometimes their friends) that often occurs," he wrote. "Some users worry just as much about post-blocking retaliation as they do about pre-blocking abuse." Twitter will continue to explore "features designed to protect users from abuse and prevent retaliation," Sippey said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyinternettwittersocial networkingInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?