Twitter beefs up troll blocking - but its chairman says it must remain forum for 'all voices'

Twitter tightens up its block feature so your tweets will be invisible to blocked accounts and their tweets are banished from your timeline.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Now blocked accounts can't follow you, see your tweets, or send you direct messages.

Image: Twitter

Twitter says a new approach to blocking trolls will make it easier for users to control their experience on the micro-blogging network.

Tragedies like Sunday's massacre at a gay club in Orlando have a tendency to draw out trolls on social media. Despite recent efforts to tackle hate speech, Twitter continues to face criticism for allowing trolls to remain on the service after abuse has been reported.

Anyone taunted by a troll on Twitter has had the option to block those accounts. However, blocking only went so far.

Now blocked accounts can't follow you, see your tweets, or send you direct messages. Likewise their tweets don't appear in your timeline.

However, as Twitter still highlights in its support pages, there were ways that a blocked account could cross your timeline. For example, if a person you follow @ mentions a blocked account, or if you and the troll are mentioned in the same tweet.

Twitter announced on Monday that it would make blocking "easier". It now says on its Safety page that the block feature makes your tweets invisible to blocked accounts while banishing their tweets from your timeline.

A Twitter spokeswoman clarified to the Huffington Post that before these recent changes, blocked accounts could see your content if it was quoted in tweets or retweets.

"Now, when you block someone you'll be able to prevent them from contacting you or seeing your Tweets in any form when logged in," she told the publication.

Twitter also said the more thorough block feature wasn't a response to any particular event.

Amid a rise in racist debate taking place on Twitter, spurred on by the US presidential race, Twitter's executive chairman Omid Kordestani told Bloomberg today that the service was a forum for all voices, including racist ones.

"You have to have room for all those voices. Instead of tanks and troops rolling in the street, you have this conversation," Kordestani said.

While Twitter does have rules to lock out accounts for abusive conduct, the company still largely relies on reports from users.

Read more on Twitter

Editorial standards