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Early today, Twitter changed how blocking users functions on its service, turning into a mute-like feature. That change caused uproar among users, and now – just four hours later – the company has announced that is has reversed the policy.
“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,” it said in a blog post.
The initial changes effectively allowed users who had been blocked to continue to follow a person, read, favorite and retweet their tweets even if they were blocked by that user.
That led to much anger on the service, with some users claiming that the move represented a step back because it allowed bullies and others who may threaten users greater access than ever before.
@safety @twitter this non-blocked blocking is for the birds. It doesn’t stop them from tweeting and having their friends RT. Pls reconsider.
– William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 13, 2013
Despite the u-turn, Twitter is sticking to its philosophical position. It says the current system is “not ideal” because making users aware that they have been blocked can cause retaliation.
“Moving forward, we will continue to explore features designed to protect users from abuse and prevent retaliation,” the company says.
Twitter certainly deserves some credit for making a quick move to change things back and respond to user feedback, but the basic premise of the change seemed so flawed to so many users (this one included) that you have wonder why it instituted the new policy in the first place.
Headline image via Scott Beale / Laughing Squid