Software // Social
News
12/13/2013
01:11 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Twitter Retracts Changes To Blocking Policy

Twitter quickly reverts to old policy -- which completely blocks others -- after user outcry. Twitter says tweak was intended to protect users from angry ex-followers.

 10 IT Leaders You Should Follow On Twitter
10 IT Leaders You Should Follow On Twitter
(click image for larger view)

Just hours after introducing a new blocking policy on Thursday, Twitter rescinded it after users bombarded the social network with complaints.

According to the policy, people you blocked would still be able to see your tweets and follow you. Critics complained because the new rules allowed harassers to continue tracking a person's updates even if that person had blocked them.

Under the short-lived changes, blocked users were still able to retweet and favorite your posts. This meant that the only way to prevent someone from following you would be to change your account to private.

[ Twitter now supports photos in direct messages. Read more: Twitter Enhances Private Messaging for iOS, Android. ]

Twitter said that the changes were made to prevent retaliation scenarios in which users discovered they had been blocked and would find other ways to harass the user, which often prompted more abuse.

As criticism from angry users flooded in, even Twitter CEO Dick Costolo responded to tweets, attempting to explain the change.

Hours later, Twitter VP of Product Michael Sippey announced it would retract the changes and further explained its reasoning.

"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."

Under its current blocking policy, blocked users can't: Add your Twitter account to their lists; have their @replies or mentions show in your mentions tab (though they still may appear in search); follow you; or see your profile picture on their profile page or in their timeline.

If your Twitter profile is set to public, your tweets will still be visible on your public profile page to anyone, regardless of whether they have a Twitter account. Twitter said that although it does not notify users when you block them, the blocked user might discover it on his own because he will no longer be able to follow you.

To block a Twitter user, log into your account and go to the person's profile page. Click the person icon on his profile page to access the drop-down actions menu. Then, select Block from the options.

To unblock a Twitter user, visit his profile and click Unblock from the same drop-down menu.

Senior Editor Kristin Burnham covers social media, social business and IT leadership and careers for InformationWeek.com. Contact her at Kristin.Burnham@ubm.com or follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

There's no single migration path to the next generation of enterprise communications and collaboration systems and services, and Enterprise Connect delivers what you need to evaluate all the options. Register today and learn about the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. Register with code MPIWK and save $200 on the entire event and Tuesday-Thursday conference passes or for a Free Expo pass. It happens in Orlando, Fla., March 17-19.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 2:59:59 AM
Re : Twitter Retracts Changes To Blocking Policy
Only good thing about the whole scenario of introducing and retracting the new policy is that it didnít take long Twitter to realize the mistake. As for the short lived blocking policy, it was against the very concept of blocking.If Twitter is really concerned about the harassment and abusing by blocked users, there must be some other way of preventing it as suggested by Lorna and Paul (though I have reservations about that).
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/24/2013 | 2:59:54 AM
Re : Twitter Retracts Changes To Blocking Policy
@ Lorna Garey, first we need to come clean on this ourselves. If we want to block someone from following us, we should have the courage to declare it. If the person we want to block is so important that we don't want to annoy him by letting him know that we have blocked him, then there is no point in blocking him at all.
PaulS681
50%
50%
PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
12/14/2013 | 6:18:40 PM
Re: Rock, meet hard place
@Lorna.. i was thinking the same. Why can't twitter do both? I can se ethe need to block someone but not want that person to know.
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
12/13/2013 | 10:25:03 PM
Re: Rock, meet hard place
I think transparency about how the service is working is better than concealing the fact that one is blocked.
asksqn
50%
50%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
12/13/2013 | 9:23:00 PM
Blocking is a very simple concept
Why is it so very difficult for social media platforms to understand that users don't want to be trolled/flamed/stalked/harassed? LinkedIn is notorious for not having blocking of any kind and yet here is Twitter removing the blocking and then acting surprised when user backlash ensues. Most don't want to be pursued by unstable individuals. Why is this concept so very hard to grasp?
Lorna Garey
50%
50%
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
12/13/2013 | 1:20:23 PM
Rock, meet hard place
While at first blush that change seemed strange, Twitter's rationale does make sense. Maybe it could offer this as an option: Block and hide, or avoid letting the blockee know about the action.
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.