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On Twitter, blocking someone is not enough: remember to hide replies

Twitter icons floating by.

When we interact with bad actors and hate accounts on Twitter it’s a good idea to block them. However, if a bad actor has already left a comment on your tweet, blocking them only protects yourself (and future tweets). Everyone else in your community will continue to see the hateful tweet.

Put another way, blocking someone does not hide their replies to your tweets from bystanders.

So the guideline I suggest is this: to protect yourself, block; to protect others, hide replies (and then block).

In order to demonstrate this, I have made a tweet from @pinksheepmedia and then responded to it from @sherwinarnott. Then I blocked @sherwinarnott (from @pinksheepmedia) and took some screenshots from both @pinksheepmedia and a third account.

Below is how it looks to @pinksheepmedia. You can see that it looks like there are no responses.[1]In this instance, obviously the tweet is not hateful. But you get the idea. Just FYI, I later unblocked my account.

Twitter screenshot demo #1.

Here’s how it looks to a third party. You can see below that the comment is still viewable by someone other than @pinksheepmedia or @sherwinarnott. If this had been an actually hateful tweet, it would linger and continue to impact my community.[2]Ironically, my tweet actually garnered a like while it was blocked from the Pink Sheep Media account.

Twitter screenshot demonstration of a failed attempt to block someone.

In order to actually stop the comment from being viewable by a third party, you have to click on the three small dots and select Hide reply. By doing this you stop other people from seeing the reply. Then, if you want, you could additionally block the bad actor.

In my view, hiding replies is as important as blocking accounts that espouse hate.

References

1 In this instance, obviously the tweet is not hateful. But you get the idea. Just FYI, I later unblocked my account.
2 Ironically, my tweet actually garnered a like while it was blocked from the Pink Sheep Media account.

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