Bye Bye Blocking Twitter Birdie

tweet_birs-2_small(NOTE: When I wrote this, Twitter was moving forward with their blocking changes. Overnight, though, they reverted the changes thanks to user outrage. I’m still posting this, though, in the hopes that Twitter doesn’t double-back and enact the Block changes.)

If you go on Twitter, it is almost inevitable.  Eventually, someone will bother you so much that you decide you don’t want to associate with them anymore.  If this happens, all you need to do is reach for the Block button.  Right?

Wrong.

It used to be that a blocked user couldn’t follow you, add you to lists, or favorite your tweets.  Now, thanks to Twitter’s new blocking policy, users who you block will be able to do all of these things.  The only thing that blocking will do is keep their tweets (including other users’ retweets of that user’s tweets) from showing up in your timeline.

To be fair, a blocked user could always see your tweets if they went to your main Twitter screen.  For example, someone I blocked could go to https://twitter.com/TechyDad to see my tweets.  If the tweets didn’t show because they were logged in, the person could start a private browsing session.  (Incognito in Chrome, InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer, or Private Window in FireFox.)  This, change, however, removes this extra step from the blocked user’s process.

Thanks to this new blocking system, trolls and stalkers can continue to pursue their targets and users will have no recourse.  About the only thing a user can do is make their account private and most user’s won’t opt for this (especially if the user is a business’ account).

In short, this move turns Block into Ignore.  While targeted users might not directly see it, stalkers, harassers, and trolls can continue to spew their bile on Twitter at their targets.  These people can watch every word hat people write and every interaction that they make.  They can spread their horrible messages to everyone that the person interacts with in an attempt to isolate them.  Sadly, I think this move isn’t going to benefit the good, well-behaved users on Twitter but will hurt them.

NOTE: The "cutie bird" image above by Luen which is available on OpenClipArt.org.

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