Twitter Reverses Controversial ‘Block’ Function Change

Only hours after the change sparked outcry from users

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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.

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:

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.

(MORENew Twitter Blocking Policy Makes It Easier for Stalkers to Follow You)

News of Twitter’s reversal was met with appreciation from many of the company’s users:

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.

1 comments
chrispy
chrispy

It's unfortunate that twitter is engaging in the same privacy-violating practices as facebook and google. I left those services because of bad privacy, and I may have to do the same with twitter. They should know better. Just look at the recent success of privacy-based services such as SnapChat, Ravetree, WhatsApp, DuckDuckGo, etc. Users are beginning to demand better privacy. We know we'll never get it with google and facebook, but I hoped twitter wouldn't be as bad. I was wrong.