Blocking users on Twitter: Service restores blocking functionality, retaliation by blocked users still a worry

(Photo: Twitter)A screenshot of a mobile phone running the Twitter application.

Twitter's product chief has announced the quick reversal of a policy the company had meant to reduce instances of retaliation by blocked users but which the company said had left users "feeling less safe."

Twitter has decided to revert the way the "block" function of Twitter works just one day after instituting it. The company said it was responding to feedback from many users.

The just-reversed policy allowed for blocking that "that does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline."

The service originally allowed - and allows once again - users to block a problematic follower that is logged into their account, preventing them from reading a user's tweets. Users that are logged out are able to see any publicly available tweets.

" [W]e never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe," wrote Michael Sippy, Twitter's vice president of product on the service's blog on Friday.

"In reverting this change to the block function, users will once again be able to tell that they've been blocked," he added.

Sippey says that despite the reversal concerns remain about retaliation when users block other users.

"We believe this is not ideal, largely due to the retaliation against blocking users by blocked users (and sometimes their friends) that often occurs," he said.

He said some users are worried just as much about post-blocking retaliation as they are about pre-blocking abuse.

The company says it is trying to strike a balance between allowing open communication and keeping users safe.

He indicated that Twitter will keep trying to address the problem.

"Moving forward, we will continue to explore features designed to protect users from abuse and prevent retaliation," he said.

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