Nishtha KanalDec 14, 2013 08:59:57 IST
Twitter has reversed its controversial decision of turning its block feature into a glorified mute button, only hours after it was first set in place. The reversal can be attributed to the great amount of backlash the move garnered from alarmed users who felt their privacy being threatened.
The micro-blogging website tweaked its block function on Thursday, taking away from user privacy. According to the new move, even if a person blocked someone who was harassing them, the trouble-maker would be able to view or tweet to the person. They would be able to mention them in tweets, go through their timeline and go about doing the exact same activities they were doing earlier. The only difference would be that the victim would not be notified.
Giving the block button its power back
The person affected by these tweets would not be shown any activities with the mentions and have no inkling that something was amiss. The perpetrator, on the other hand, would still be able to go on abusing and harassing the user. Of course, the moment this change was made, it led to a massive hue and cry.
According to Reuters, Twitter said that this change was meant to protect victims of harassment who wanted to filter out abusive messages but worried that blocking a user would lead to prompt retaliation. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that a feature like this was a widely requested by victims of abuse.
However, this failed to convince users who generally reiterated that turning a blind eye to the problem probably wouldn’t make it go away. Twitter executives reportedly rushed into a meeting on Thursday night in order to discuss this feature and ended up reversing its decision. In a blog post, Twitter VP of Product, Michael Sippey, wrote, “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.”
Twitter still stuck to its stand of this not being an ideal way to deal with abusive users on Twitter and said that the company would continue to look at alternatives in order to protect users from abuse and prevent retaliation.
Safety on Twitter has been a burning issue this year, even before the IPO came up. The micro-blogging website ended up adding a report abuse button for every tweet after complaints poured in July. UK feminist and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez had been a victim of threats and abuses on Twitter, prompting her supporters and feminists around the world to start a petition and get a report abuse button put on each tweet.
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