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Twitter is letting you and your friends join hands to block trolls and miscreants

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Overdue support for blocking large hateful groups on the social media platform

Twitter users will now be able to export and import block lists, the social media company announced today. Any user can curate their own list of users they block on the service, then export the list and share it with others. This will, in theory, help those in the Twitter community receiving harassment from similar sources, allowing users to collaborate on block lists spanning entire groups, not merely individuals.

"While many users find [mute and block] useful, we also recognize that some users — those who experience high volumes of unwanted interactions on Twitter — need more sophisticated tools. That's where this new feature comes in [...] We also hope these advanced blocking tools will prove useful to the developer community to further improve users' experience."

You may download your own list of blocked accounts by selecting the "Blocked accounts" tab in the Settings page on Twitter.com. There, click advanced options, and select "Export your list." The site will provide a prompt displaying all of the accounts that will be added to the list before export.

The service is a welcome addition to Twitter, which in the past left mass-blocking to homespun, unreliable solutions.

Update June 10th, 5:15PM: Randi Harper, the creator of Good Game Auto Blocker, reached out on Twitter that the above comment about "homespun, unreliable solutions" could be seen as a slight on her work. I'd like to clarify that comment was about a solution I rely on created by a personal friend solutions that is rough to say the least, but gets me through the work week. Good Game Auto Blocker, or GGAutoblocker, is a system similar to what Twitter has now created — though created long before Twitter's recent update. It allows users to block a shared list of Twitter accounts tied to GamerGate. I tried a solution that allowed people to share block lists last fall that may have been GGAutoblocker though I can't say for sure; I tried many solutions, none of which prevented the unrelenting flood of hate in my Twitter stream. Harper's new work is Shields Up. Here's how she explains it: "Shields Up aims to mitigate the flood of tweets that can inundate a user when a single account publicly mentions their twitter handle. Instead of using a follower list as a source for accounts to block, we build our list based off of interactions such as retweets of the offending user." It's a smart solution, different than Twitter's approach, and you can find the beta at Github.