|Twitter's Back-and-Forth With Blocking
By: Jessica Cherok
First you could block anyone on Twitter. Then you couldn’t. Now, you can again. Twitter’s decision to return to their original blocking policy may seem like a flip-flop, but it’s a welcome one.
Originally, if you had someone spamming or outright stalking you on Twitter, you could simply block them with relative ease. But last week, Twitter took away that feature, meaning that if you had a public Twitter profile, anyone could access it, spammers and stalkers alike. Surprise, surprise — people didn’t like it.
LinkedIn, the professional networking site that also doesn’t allow blocking, has been the recipient of criticism on the topic for years. Because of such, many were surprised Twitter would take a similar stance. According to a Twitter spokesperson recently in Forbes, the change was made because, “people would see they had been blocked and get mad.”
Does it really matter if the blocked person is mad at you for blocking them? Apparently not. Twitter reversed the decision shortly after making it, following an outcry from its users who feel the feature protects from harassment and harm.
Like many other social networking sites, Twitter’s privacy is all-or-nothing, meaning either the entire profile completely public or completely private. There are no tweet-specific privacy options.
When announcing its return to the original policy, Twitter VP of Product Michael Sippey said, “We never want to introduce a feature at the cost of users feeling less safe.”
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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