Twitter has received a wide criticism for temporarily changing its ‘blocking’ policy.
Originally, the blocking featured allowed one to forbid any other user from ‘following’ and removed the blocked user from seeing one’s mentions and timeline. Although the feature was imperfect, it was often utilized by many victims of cyberbullying to curtail the harassment they received.
However, in an effort to balance openness and safety, Twitter altered its blocking settings. In describing the new policy, the company stated: “If your account is public, blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline. If your Tweets are protected, blocking the user will cause them to unfollow you.”
Zerlina Maxwell, a feminist freelance writer who receives numerous rape and death threats on Twitter and often utilized the ‘block’ button, was distraught when she found out how easily the new policy allowed the harassers to continue cyberbullying. She was disappointed in the company’s lack of respect for its female, and cyberbullied users, and started an online petition on Change.org, which gathered more than thousand signatures in the first few hours, to pressure Twitter into reverting back to the old policy.
In the end, after a wide backlash from its users, Twitter withdrew the change.
“… we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe,” the company stated.
More About ETCB:
The End to Cyber Bullying Organization is the world’s number one source for up-to-date cyberbullying information, news, legislature, and cyberbullying prevention tips. ETCB is instantly accessible online, and phone assistance by certified and professional cyber bullying counselors is available to any inquiring individuals. Highlighting cyberbullying as a leading issue in today’s technological society and raising awareness throughout the web and throughout communities is the first and primary step to putting an end to cyberbullying.
A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, ETCB is an international cyberbullying awareness campaign that has united over 4.5 million individuals internationally. Youth initiatives have started up in not only the fifty states, but also in nations such as China and the UK. Partnering with other organizations, such as the Girl Scouts of USA and Sears Anti-Bullying Coalition, has enabled us to outreach even further. All of the money raised has been utilized to continue expanding ETCB, helping to increase the impact we’ve made. Most importantly, we are grateful to have comforted and served thousands of cyberbullying victims of all ages. Future victims no longer need to feel as isolated and helpless as I once did.