Twitter reinstates old blocking policy

Twitter reverses blocking changes

Twitter has reversed its blocking policy following backlash from users of the social media site.

Prior to the policy change, account holders were able to block users who were abusive to them online. Twitter has been working to protect its users from cyber-bullying, including users who discovered they had been blocked. Those who had been blocked often hit back against the person who had blocked them leading to more bullying.

On Thursday last week, the social network altered its blocking policy so that previously blocked users became invisible, rather than completely unable to access an account. The change was met with uproar, as unwanted followers were now able to interact with the person who blocked them, though notifications of the activity were invisible.

Blocking back-lash

According to a Twitter spokesperson who spoke to media outlets on Friday, the new policy was intended to prevent those who had been blocked becoming irate and acting in a malicious manner. In a company blog post Michael Sippey, Twitter's vice-president of product stated:

"We have decided to revert the change after receiving feedback from many 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."

The reinstated rules will once again prevent users from following an account once blocked.

Twitter has been actively countering cyber-bullying in recent months, following several high profile cases of trolling. On Monday this week, a man and woman behind the abusive tweets to feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez were charged with, 'improper use of a communications network'. Criado-Perez's case is one of the many this year that sparked a call for tighter regulations from the company, as the campaigner stated the report button was an inadequate solution and "Twitter need to be on the side of the victims."

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword said: "Twitter faces an uphill battle when it comes to making sure users feel safe when using the site, and protection against trolls is a vital part of that. However, the hardest issue to overcome will be pleasing as many parties as possible, and when confronted by such a cross section of society on a global scale this is an exceedingly difficult task."