Twitter announced late Thursday that it’s reversing a controversial change to its ‘block’ function that it made only hours earlier. The change allowed users to view and interact with tweets from a person who blocked them, among other differences.
In a blog post about the block change, Twitter said the reversal came “after receiving feedback from many users.” Many Twitter users were incensed over the changes, which some argued made it more difficult to prevent harassment on the platform. The hashtag #restoretheblock became a popular rallying point for those opposed to the block change.
— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) December 13, 2013
In response to support of Twitter blocking, been told to pay for app, leave, make account private. Hell no. I have same rights as harassers.
— Margarita Noriega (@margafret) December 13, 2013
Every single person I’ve seen that’s OK with Twitter’s new blocking policy is a white male. @Twitter, I love you. But please, fix this.
— Stephanie Haberman (@StephLauren) December 13, 2013
A Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch earlier the change “was done to prevent a scenario of retaliation.” Even Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, attempted to explain the change earlier Thursday:
@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
According to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources, Twitter executives “rushed into a meeting” at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco late Thursday evening to debate what to do about the uproar over the block change before ultimately deciding to restore the old ‘block’ functionality.
News of Twitter’s reversal was met with appreciation from many of the company’s users:
But seriously, I applaud Twitter for hearing the feedback & making a change quickly and transparently.
— Stacy Martinet (@stacymartinet) December 13, 2013
— Daniel Bentley (@DJBentley) December 13, 2013
— Matt Shipman (@ShipLives) December 13, 2013
Twitter’s blog post in full:
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.