There are some serious problems with how Twitter handles blocking — in particular, if I block some obnoxious twit, but they post to a hashtag I follow (a conference hashtag, for instance), their messages are still displayed. This is the major reason why the BlockBot emerged — that automated widget that simply refuses to display tweets from a collection of known harassers, so that you can follow it instead of the hashtag — because Twitter won’t do the job.
Now, finally, Twitter gets around to changing the blocking behavior …and makes it worse. It used to be blocking someone also made them unfollow you, which made it very slightly harder for the harassers to stalk you. Apparently, inconveniencing assholes was intolerable to Twitter, so they’ve now changed it so blocking only mutes them, but still allows them to easily follow your every word, flag your tweets, and echo them to their clinging flock of fellow harassers. The harassers are now simply made invisible to the people they want to harass.
Imagine if the police were this helpful, and if you complained about someone and asked for protection, their response would be to magically make them invisible for you.
Why did they do this? I have no idea, except that there must be some assholes on the Twitter staff, which should surprise no one.
It’s probably futile, but there’s a petition asking them to stop making life easier for the jerks. I have no confidence they’ll listen or care, but go ahead, ask Twitter nicely.
Otherwise…hey, world, did you know there’s an available niche for a twitter-like service that also offers reasonable blocking and a little protection for users, and that doesn’t pander to misogynistic scumbags? They really could use some competition.
I found someone who likes the new policy (warning: links to creep pretending to masturbate…and just the description is enough, don’t you think?) That’s what we’re dealing with. That’s who Twitter’s policy panders to.
Twitter has reversed their changes. They’ve got a rather weird explanation for the earlier change, though.
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.
WTF? So I was supposed to worry that harassers I block might retaliate by…what? More online harassment? I assure you, they were going to do that anyway.