Twitter Reverses Block Function Change Following Twitter Outcry

If you were worried about Twitter's changes to its blocking policy, you can calm down now: the change has been reversed and everything is back to normal. And if you had no idea the block function had briefly changed in the first place, you apparently didn't miss much.

The Twitter block feature traditionally cuts off contact between users, but the company's recent policy change simply changed the "block" button to something more akin to a muting function. In the past, users who felt uncomfortable (or just annoyed with someone) could use the block button to keep that user from following them, messaging them, or adding them to any lists. Blocking would also result in a notification being sent to the blocked user that they had been stonewalled.

The newer version of the feature changed everything rather drastically: the user who did the blocking would cease to see the blocked user's tweets, but the blocked user would still be able to tweet at and message the blocker — and wouldn't be notified that anything about the online relationship had changed. Awkward.

The decision seemed to go with current trends like Facebook's recently added "unfollow" button but it raised concerns about continuing abuse from people with whom users could no longer break off a Twitter relationship.

The change quickly gave rise to a flurry of protest tweets tagged with #restoretheblock:

And it seems that Twitter listened. In a statement posted early this morning, the company announced it was backing off from its new policy. At least for now, nothing should be different from how it was this time yesterday. The announcement claimed that the initial changes stemmed from a place of concern for "the retaliation against blocking users by blocked users (and sometimes their friends) that often occurs."

Such a function does have its uses, and many users against the change agree that a mute-style button would be welcome — just not at the expense of actual blocking. And Twitter seems to agree: the announcement reassures 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." OK, glad we got that settled Twitter.