Twitter is beefing up its block feature.
Over the years, the social network has developed a bit of a reputation for trolls and abuse. High-profile users have complained time and time and time again about being targeted by abusive users, and not having adequate tools to combat this.
Twitter announced an update to its block tool on Monday that solves one of the most glaring problems: That you could still, in some circumstances, see the tweets of users you had blocked, and vice versa. (We first saw the news of the update over on The Next Web.)
For example, if you blocked a user, then someone who the blocked user follows retweeted one of your tweets, it would appear in the blocked user’s timeline. Likewise, if someone you follow retweeted a message from someone you had blocked (or had blocked you), it would appear in your timeline anyway.
But no longer: Twitter’s change means that blocked users will become totally invisible.
The change doesn’t change the fact that it’s trivial for determined abusive users to create new accounts to get around blocks and continue to target victims. But that’s a far more fundamental problem — and it’s not clear how Twitter could solve it.
And it also doesn’t address the issue of more serious abuse. Some Twitter users have complained about being targeted by flagrant abuse — and when it was reported to Twitter, the social network did nothing. Jon Weisman, an editor at The New York Times, recently quit Twitter after receiving anti-Semitic abuse and reporting it to Twitter, only for the site to say the messages didn’t violate its rules.
The best block tools in the world won’t make a difference if Twitter fails to act against more serious instances of abuse.
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