If you block someone on Twitter, now they’ll never know you snubbed them. The messaging service announced a new policy on Thursday that allows people you block to see your tweets, mark them as favorites and retweet them — as if you had never blocked them at all.
The new policy is essentially a blindfold for the blocker; the blockees can still see you, but you can’t see them. As TechCrunch reports, whereas before when you blocked someone, they could not see your tweets when logged in, now they can. They can also still see your profile picture and follow your tweets when logged in — something they could do before anyway while logged off, since Twitter is a public service, and you don’t need to be a member to view other people’s streams.
Twitter said that the policy was designed to protect users from retaliation by disgruntled people they’ve blocked. But some victims of harassment and cyber-abuse may feel like the new policy doesn’t protect them enough, as it makes it all that much easier to Twitter-stalk others. An online petition asking the service not to change its blockiing policy had 750 signatures as of 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.
As criticism of the changes mounted, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo summed up the reasoning behind them:
@MatthewKnell now when you block a user, they cannot tell that you've blocked them. It was a longstanding request from users of block...—
dick costolo (@dickc) December 12, 2013
If you really want to keep stalkers at bay, you still have the option of setting your stream to private.