How To Use Twitter's Block List Feature To Combat The Trolls & Help Your Friends Fight Them, Too

Twitter has unveiled a brand new tool to make it easier to block users as well as help others in the fight against some of the more unpleasant interactions on the social media site. The block list feature was announced Wednesday via Twitter's blog. In addition to being able to singularly block accounts or mute them, Twitter block lists allow users to block multiple people at once and share their lists of accounts they've blocked. Exporting block lists to other users helps in identifying problem accounts and makes it easier for others to eliminate potential harassment.

Users can see who they've blocked by clicking "settings" on the drop-down menu from your Twitter avatar and then clicking on the "blocked accounts" subheading. Once there, you can browse the users you've blocked or view imported block lists. Under the "advanced settings" menu, users can export their block lists by downloading them as a .csv file, a type of text file that sorts information in a table structure. Each .csv can store up to 5,000 blocked users. Anything over 5,000 results in the creation of an additional .csv file per 5,000 users.

The .csv file is what makes it possible to get block lists from others if they choose to share the file with you. Most .csv files are incredibly small, making them easy to send via email or Dropbox. By using the aforementioned "advanced settings" section of the "blocked accounts" section, users can import new block lists after they've received and downloaded them by clicking on "import a list." Twitter will then prompt you to choose a .csv file to upload via a pop-up menu. Once the list is uploaded, you can then view it under the "imported" heading on the "blocked accounts" page.

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For both importing and exporting block lists, users are able to customize which accounts they want to include. Twitter says it wants the block list feature to serve multiple purposes and could easily be even more customizable as it continues to be rolled out. According to the blog post unveiling the feature, engineer Xiaoyun Zhang says, "we also hope these advanced blocking tools will prove useful to the developer community to further improve users’ experience." So far, Twitter is slowly unveiling block lists and is hoping to make the feature available "in the coming weeks."

Block lists are the latest tools in Twitter's user experience arsenal. Though the block function has been on the site about as long as it's been online, steady changes have continued to evolve the feature. Blocked users are now unable to view the profiles of people who've blocked them. Additionally, muting has been unveiled as a more mild version of blocking, complete with its own customizable that includes not just muting by account but by subject matter. According to Twitter, the block lists are just the latest in new features to be unveiled. Though it's not hinting at what's to come, Twitter says it's certainly got more in the works.

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