Twitter has reversed their changes to the block function of their platform after a backlash against the move which allowed users to still interact with the accounts of people who had blocked them.
The social media site was earlier on Friday was accused of reducing the power of blocking people to simply “muting” them with their revisions. The new policy meant a blocked user could follow and interact with the person who blocked them, but notifications of the activity would be invisible to the blocker. As part of the changes a person was also no longer made aware if they had been blocked.
A Twitter spokesman told media earlier on Friday that the new policy was to prevent retribution which they noticed was sometimes being carried out by people who were angry at being blocked.
But they have now reverted back to the old ways.
“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,” said Twitter in a statement.
“Any blocks you had previously instituted are still in effect.”
Users had complained that the revised function left them open to the trolls and bullies they had previously used the blocking function to protect themselves against, without having to completely restrict the privacy of their own account.
The original blocking function (now in place again) allows you to stop someone interacting with your account while the blocked person is logged in. Once blocked, they cannot see your tweets while using their own account. They can still log out and view any public account but can’t tweet at it or see the updates in their own Twitter feed.
Twitter said reverting back to a policy where a person will be aware that they have been blocked is “not ideal” because of instances of retaliation that it may provoke.
“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,” read the statement.
A hashtag #restoretheblock began trending in the US and Canada among users angry at the new policy.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Howard Lake