Twitter reversed its stance on blocking a second time Thursday night, reverting to the original policy in the face of what it admitted was tremendous opposition on the service. “We never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe,” Vice President of Product Michael Sippey wrote in a blog post. The original story is below.
If you’re having problems with a stalker, you don’t need a restraining order — just wear a blindfold. That at least appears to be the logic behind a policy change Twitter announced Thursday, one its users are calling baffling.
Previously, the service allowed you to block any troublesome follower, denying them access to your tweets. Now, in an about-face, the process of blocking simply mutes the user in question, meaning you can’t see their tweets. But they can retweet you, allowing their followers to contact you in turn.
“If your account is public, blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline,” the company says in its amended “blocking users on Twitter” help page.
A company spokesperson explained to Forbes that the change had been made because “people would see they had been blocked and get mad,” resulting in “antagonistic behavior.”
But that didn’t wash with many users who’d experienced real harassment on the service. “This is a huge and very serious problem for people, like me, who have received repeated rape and death threats on Twitter on a fairly consistent basis,” wrote Zerlina Maxwell, a prominent…