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Twitter demonstrates slightly better way to block people, but it's not real

Twitter demonstrates slightly better way to block people, but it's not real


How difficult does this have to be

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Twitter is so rife with abuse that its last CEO admitted failure and said it posed a huge risk to the business. The company's approach to improving its user experience since then has been excruciatingly incremental, including bold measures like — and this is not a joke — rearranging the paragraphs in its terms of service. But when it's not fighting harassment by writing blog posts, occasionally Twitter will rearrange some buttons. Like today, when Twitter demonstrated a method for users to block people by pressing three buttons to save themselves from another user, instead of having to enter the code 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 into an Apple II located in a remote island bunker.

Here's how the process was illustrated:

  • Click on an abusive tweet, ensuring you will see the abusive tweet twice
  • Look past the reply, retweet, "heart," and direct message buttons to find a hidden menu indicated by ellipsis — a not-so-subtle indication that any further action you plan to take on this tweet is not a priority for Twitter and thus deserves to be buried in an obscure menu
  • Click the "block" button

As you can see, this would be a vast improvement over the current implementation, which requires users to complete all these steps and then look past an emboldened "Cancel" button to press the block button again, to fully validate your commitment to not wanting to be abused on Twitter. Unfortunately, it's just an illustration, and not an update to the process.

If you're a Twitter engineer who thinks this is an intractable problem, here's what you need to do to reject someone on Tinder:

  • Swipe left

Update June 14th, 1:21PM ET: A person familiar with the matter says that the animation in Twitter's update is "educational." In other words, it does not depict the actual process for blocking someone on Twitter. This article has been updated to reflect that nothing about the process for blocking people has actually changed.