Twitter’s New Blocking Policy Enables Stalkers? – Update

Twitter’s New Blocking Policy

UPDATE – Yesterday it was reported that Twitter changed their blocking policy making it possible for blocked users to access another’s tweets who had previously blocked them. This change made Twitter’s blocking seemed much like a ‘mute’ button instead. Today, Twitter announced that they have reverted back to their old blocking functions due to users revolting over yesterday’s change. Once again a Twitter user can block another and stop access to their tweets.

Read the full article from yesterday as some information still holds true to how a harasser or stalker can still access a user’s information after being blocked.

Original Content From Previous Report – The text messaging social media platform Twitter made new changes to their blocking policy that has a lot of users up in arms. The new policy made changes that some users did definitely not like. Users that previously blocked someone from seeing their accounts will now be able to see them once again. Some even went so far as to say it’s like the policy enables stalkers.

Users that have been blocked are now enabled to see the tweets of the person that blocked them. Potential stalkers can carry-on retweeting their tweets and marking them as their favorite, even though they’ve been previously ‘blocked’ from an account. Twitter users are saying that the new blocking policy no longer blocks, it just ‘mutes’ the unwanted follower.

Twitter said they made the changes to avoid scenarios of retaliation occurring when users have been blocked. The block person is now anonymously put on the user’s blocked list without receiving any notification that they’ve been ‘muted.’ The Twitter change was supposedly made as blocked users would often still find a way to attack or harass the one that blocked them. Sometimes these attacks would escalate to even bigger abuse. Twitter’s new policy is trying to quell the angry stalkers without them even knowing.

Twitter also stated that they wanted to communicate to their users that just because a user has been blocked doesn’t mean they magically turn invisible. A user’s information is still public and accessible to anyone. If users are concerned with danger from the public, they do have the option to make their account private. If users set their account to private, blocking someone will stop them from being able to see their tweets.

This may stop potential stalkers from setting up dummy alias accounts to stalk the person anyway. Regardless of how the blocking function actually works or what features it offers, there will be those that have been harassed in the past that will not like these changes.

If the blocked user were to log out of their account, they could see the tweets on the public profile page of the person they were harassing. The previous blocking function blocked all interactions, so if a user blocked someone they would not see what that person was tweeting or saying about them, even though others would see it.

The new policy does bring to light some answers to what really happened or now happens when someone is blocked or ‘muted.’ The extra bit of insight to the blocking functions are a big step for Twitter, when others are worried about who has access to their social media data it seems Twitter has taken a bold new approach to transparency.

Twitter new policy lists the features for users that block someone they will no longer see:

  • Tweets from the blocked person or see the user on their followers list.
  • Their @ mentions and replies.
  • Any other actions in neither their Interactions nor their Activity tab.

A blocked user will not be able to:

  • See the user’s profile picture on their timeline or profile page.
  • Add the person to their lists in their Twitter account.
  • Have any of their @ replies and mentions show on the Mentions tab, but these can be accessed through searching through tweets.
  • They will not be able to follow the ‘muter.’

Twitter users can be easily split on whether the new changes made to the new blocking policy will actually be a good change and quell any harassment. Most likely it will now take a while for the blocked user to recognize that they have been actually blocked. Others believe the new ‘mute’ filter is still enabling stalkers to what they’ve always managed to do, harass others.

By Brent Matsalla

New Sources:
Business Week
USA Today

Original Sources:

The Verge

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