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#RestoreTheBlock Protest Pays Off, Twitter Fixes Block Button, Still No Way to Report Abuse


Block Twitter

You did it, Internet. You got Twitter to reverse its policy change on how the block button worked. Twitter’s block-button-as-mute-button experiment is over, and the block button has been restored to its former functionality. But is that enough?

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If you missed the issue, Twitter changed how the block function worked yesterday. Blocking traditionally hid offending users from your feed as well as you from theirs, but with the change it only acted as a mute button, hiding their tweets from you. This upset users, particularly those who have been victims of harassment on Twitter.

It didn’t take long for Twitter to get the message. They released a statement late last night announcing the policy had been reverted. Here’s what it said:

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.

Some of the points Twitter lost last night for the change should probably be won back for their quick response, but they can do more. Twitter is absolutely right to want to offer a way for users to mute offenders without their knowledge. The retaliation they mention is very real, as people who have blocked users likely already know. It’s also worth pointing out that Twitter’s block function — even restored — isn’t an effective way to stop someone from reading your tweets if you have a public account. Users need to realize that.

As we said last night, Twitter should keep the block function as it is, add a mute button, and also create a Report Abuse button or some other method for users to report harassment.

(via Twitter, image via Twitter screenshot)

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Glen Tickle
Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.

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