The New York Times reports on a quick backtrack by social-networking service Twitter concerning a privacy issue:
Twitter on Thursday adopted â€” and then quickly reversed â€” a change to the way people can block others from interacting with them on the service. […]
Before, a blocked user could not interact with the person who blocked them, and could tell that they had been blocked. Under the short-lived change, blocked users would not know they had been blocked. They could view and send tweets to the person who blocked them, but those tweets would have been invisible to that person. […]
Twitter made the change, which it announced only on a help center page, in response to requests from users who wanted to avoid abuse and retaliation by people they blocked.
But people immediately and vociferously reacted online, saying the change invited more abuse and stalking because people could view and interact with the tweets of someone who blocked them.
â€œTwitter is no longer a safe space,â€ wrote Zerlina Maxwell in a Change.org petition to reverse the block that garnered 2,250 supporters in the short time the change was active. â€œAs a public person who uses the medium for my work, I am very concerned because stalkers and abusers will now be able to keep tabs on their victims.â€
In a post announcing that Twitter was reinstating the original blocking policy, Michael Sippey, a vice president of product at Twitter, wrote, â€œWe have decided to revert the change after receiving feedback from many users â€“ we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe.â€