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Twitter in U-turn after blocking update

Graeme Parton

Twitter has turned back on changes it made to the way its users block others on the site, less than 24 hours after they were  introduced.

The update enabled users to access the content posted by those who had blocked them. Understandably, many of the site’s fans questioned the decision.

In response to the outcry, Twitter explained that it had chosen to revert to its initial rules, which stipulate that users are unable to follow the accounts belonging to those who have blocked them.

The blocking feature exists on the site to stop users bullying others – an act which has become widely known as ‘trolling’.

In a blog post, Michael Sippey, product vice president at Twitter, said:

“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.

“Some users worry just as much about post-blocking retaliation as they do about pre-blocking abuse.”

Twitter has been criticised previously for not doing enough to combat the ‘trolling’ phenomenon, after numerous bullying cases were highlighted in the media. The feedback led the company’s bosses to introduce a ‘report’ button, which allows users to flag posts which they feel are inappropriate.

Sippey went on to say that the initial change was put in place as part of another attempt to stop abuse on the site, by making sure users didn’t know if they’d been blocked.

He explained that some users chose to retaliate after being blocked, and in many cases the abuse increased.

Twitter’s popularity, particularly among brands, has undoubtedly come about because of the way it encourages positive engagement. While the site’s U-turn has further highlighted the negative interaction on the network, this part is minimal, and businesses should continue to focus on using it to build positive, fruitful relationships with their target audience members.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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