#RestoreTheBlock – Trending Twitter Hashtag Helps Change Block Policy

by Alyssa Oursler | December 13, 2013 5:00 am

In case you missed it, Twitter (TWTR[1]) users were up in arms yesterday as the social media site announced a new policy change. Twitter revamped its “block” feature, updating it to what most folks said would be better-described as a “mute” feature. That worried many users about Twitter privacy and led to a trending Twitter hashtag.

Twitter185 #RestoreTheBlock   Trending Twitter Hashtag Helps Change Block PolicyBut that wasn’t all.

First: the details of the new feature that led to negative feedback and the trending Twitter topic #RestoreTheBlock. Previously, if you “blocked” someone on Twitter, they could no longer see your activity. In a step backwards for Twitter privacy, the new feature simply meant you could no longer see their activity, but they could still access your profile and retweet you.

The only silver lining? If you blocked someone, they wouldn’t be able to tell:

“Twitter told CNET[2] that the new policy was actually meant to help people from being trolled by those they’ve blocked. What Twitter had found was that when someone blocked another person, the blockee would often be upset when they would discover it, and would go on to troll the blocker in other ways, often aggressively.”

Still, the update raised some big-time Twitter privacy concerns — especially from women, who are often harassed online — and stirred up chatter about superior privacy settings on rival sites like Facebook (FB[3]).

And once again, it led to the trending Twitter hashtag: #RestoreTheBlock.

So soon enough, Twitter did just that — restored the block. Apparently Twitter held an emergency meeting in response to the uproar and trending Twitter hashtag. The decision: Revert back to the original black functionality.

Take a look at a few top tweets about the feature, beyond the trending Twitter topic. #RestoreTheBlock was a Twitter trending topic not long after the policy change was announced, but the response extended far beyond it … which likely helped sway management’s quick reversal.

Top Trending Twitter Responses

@safety[4] @twitter[5] this non-blocked blocking is for the birds. It doesn’t stop them from tweeting and having their friends RT. Pls reconsider.

— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 13, 2013[6]

 

It’s not clear why Twitter changed its block feature, but really there was no way to ever block someone. They just had to be logged out.

— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) December 13, 2013[7]

 

Without the block function, Twitter gonna turn into Gotham after Bane trapped the cops underground

— Desus (@desusnice) December 12, 2013[8]

 

“blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you” sounds a lot like “blocking a user does not block that user” to me.

— Scott Madin (@ScottMadin) December 12, 2013[9]

 

Things like new Twitter block policy are result of a tech community that’s 99% white straight male, aka group least likely to be stalked.

— Danielle (@DCPlod) December 12, 2013[10]

 

Don’t give power back to the misogynists, stalkers, and harassers out there. #RestoreTheBlock[11]

— Matt Ford (@HemlockMartinis) December 13, 2013[12]

 

Twitter block change speaks volumes about how the conflict between public and private will define the next few years/decades.

— Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) December 13, 2013[13]

Endnotes:
  1. TWTR: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TWTR
  2. CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57615496-93/change-to-twitters-blocking-policy-has-users-up-in-arms/
  3. FB: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=FB
  4. @safety: https://twitter.com/safety
  5. @twitter: https://twitter.com/twitter
  6. December 13, 2013: https://twitter.com/WilliamShatner/statuses/411303342304796672
  7. December 13, 2013: https://twitter.com/TheStalwart/statuses/411311019152400384
  8. December 12, 2013: https://twitter.com/desusnice/statuses/411256391400046592
  9. December 12, 2013: https://twitter.com/ScottMadin/statuses/411265077761691649
  10. December 12, 2013: https://twitter.com/DCPlod/statuses/411273825356365827
  11. #RestoreTheBlock: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23RestoreTheBlock&src=hash
  12. December 13, 2013: https://twitter.com/HemlockMartinis/statuses/411299426926616576
  13. December 13, 2013: https://twitter.com/AlexJamesFitz/statuses/411317673881243648

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