Mis establos!!!

None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained). Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

I work on the EPSRC-funded @CHI_MED project; all views are my own. I used to work at Diabetes UK (until 22 June 2012) as a Science Information Officer (effectively a science-specialist librarian but not quite a clinical librarian). Before that it was ScienceLine and back in the mists of time it was lipid chemistry & neuroscience.

Contact: @JoBrodie or reconfigure this email address me.meeeee @ gmail.com (replace me and meeeee with obvious letters, eg... jo.brodie@ etc).

Oh OK then it's jo dot brodie at gmail dot com

Thursday, 7 June 2012

What happens if you block someone on Twitter? What happens if they block you?

by @JoBrodie, brodiesnotes.blogspot.com


updated Sunday 25 May 2014, 10:48am
Twitter's rolled out a Mute function on desktop Twitter.com and has slightly tweaked the block function (nothing significant to how it works, just that a block now reports the user for one of four options), I've written a post about it here:
Twitter (desktop version) has a new Mute option for users, what does it do? (25 May 2014)


re-written from scratch Saturday 4 January 2014, 17:07pm
Welcome to the updated version of this post. The original, written 18 months ago, is now out of date because Twitter made a number of changes, first gradual and then more dramatic (before reversing them again) to what happened when person A blocks person B. If you want to read the original post it's available as a Word document (5 pages!).  

If you want to see, in pictures, what someone you've blocked can see of your tweets have a look at "Blocking someone on Twitter - what can they see? (14 January 2014)"




Table of Contents
  1. The short version
    1. What happens if you block someone on Twitter?
    2. What happens if they block you?
  2. The longer version
    1. Historical problems with blocking
    2. How to stop someone from contacting you
    3. How to stop someone from reading your tweets
    4. How do you know if someone has blocked you?
    5. How to read the tweets of someone who's blocked you
  3. Private accounts - what to watch out for
  4. FAQs
  5. Further reading
This post relates to the Twitter.com (web-based) interface. I don't have enough information about the range of smartphone apps to be able to offer much advice about these, other than Echofon for iPhone. 


1. The short version
  • Blocking someone does not stop them from seeing your tweets. Period.
  • Blocking someone does stop their tweets from appearing in your timeline / mentions (though you can still go looking for those tweets).
  • If you want to make sure that someone cannot see your tweets then you need to make your account private, be cautious about who you allow to follow you (are you sure they've not just created another account to follow you with) and hope that their accounts aren't compromised by someone who'd cracked or phished their password.
Note that a private / locked account can never be perfectly secure. (see Section 3 below)

1.1 What happens if you block someone on Twitter?
Not much. Their tweets won't arrive in your timeline or mentions tab - you won't hear from them. They can't follow you but they can visit your profile and search and still see everything you tweet though. If you are following a hashtag that they are tweeting on then their tweets will show up when you search for that hashtag (unless you search #hashtag -TheirTwitterName)

1.2 What happens if they block you?
Not much. Your tweets won't show up in their timeline or mentions, they won't hear from you. You can still see their profile but you can't follow them.



2. The longer version

Here's some nice music to listen to as you read on - I heard of it via Radiolab's Colors episode. This works on an iPhone and even plays in-page :)





The purpose of blocking, as Twitter sees it, is to prevent someone from contacting you via Twitter.

Any tweets that a blocked person sends to @YourTwitterName won't show up in your mentions or interactions. However if you search for all mentions sent to you (by literally typing @YourTwitterName into the search function) you can see any tweets they've sent you.

https://twitter.com/search?q=%40JoBrodie%20&src=typd&f=realtime = these are all public tweets sent to me (excluding those from private accounts, you won't be able to see those unless you're logged in as me). Replace the bit in bold with your user name to see tweets sent to you.

Anyone see your tweets, unless your account is locked and all your followers are trustworthy and haven't had their passwords pinched.

2.1 Historical problems with blocking
Twitter previously set things up with blocking so that if you tried to view the account of someone who'd blocked you you couldn't. Instead you'd be shown a page saying "this user hasn't tweeted yet" or similar.

This is no longer the case. Because people quickly worked out that all you had to do (then) was search for tweets from (or to) them or view their profile from a browser where they weren't logged in it was clear that blocking didn't mean very much.

Given the somewhat "fatal" flaw (that Twitter can't tell you're you if you're logged out) I think Twitter made the right decision to make it clear, as they've since done, that everyone can still see everyone else's account. I don't know when this happened but I noticed it in October 2012 when an alternative therapist blocked me (and provided a useful test-case for me finding out about blocks). Initially I couldn't see their tweets (without logging out), then suddenly I could.

Twitter has made it much less obvious if someone has blocked you (this is deliberate).

2.2 How to stop someone from contacting you
Block them. But note that it only stops that account from contacting you via Twitter, it doesn't stop that account (or a new one they've just created) from reading your tweets.

You can use the following links to restrict your mentions / interactions to only those who you're following.
• Mentions: https://twitter.com/mentions?filter=following
• Interactions: https://twitter.com/i/connect?filter=following (this one includes 'X favorited you tweet') 

2.3 How to stop someone from reading your tweets
Lock your account. This will stop everyone from reading your tweets, unless they're already following you - many people don't want that. There is no way to stop only one or two people from reading your tweets. See (3) on Private accounts for more on the potential weaknesses of locked accounts.

2.4 How do you know if someone has blocked you? [Updated 15 January 2014]

It may depend on whether or not you'd previously followed them. I've tried this out myself with a test account and posted what I saw here (Blocking someone on Twitter - what can they see? (14 January 2014)) but it may not be the same for everyone.

If they've blocked you then you'll see a 'Follow' button on their profile. If you try and follow them a popup will appear telling you that you can't, because the person has requested that you can't. However if they haven't blocked you they will now get a notification that you're following them - so I don't know of any way to find out if they've blocked you that doesn't risk alerting them if they actually haven't!

Similarly if you try and favourite or RT one of their tweets you'll get a message saying your account can't do that (with favouriting you don't get a message as such, just that it's impossible to make the favourite 'stick'). They aren't notified of this if they have blocked you, but of course if they haven't and you've just faved or RTed their tweet, then they'll know.

2.5 How to read the tweets of someone who's blocked you
Just go to their profile - http://twitter.com/TheirTwitterName or log out.


3. Private accounts - what to watch out for
A locked account means that only people you've granted access to can follow you. New followers must request permission to follow which you can grant, or not. Since people don't have to use their real names to create an account you may not know if they're someone you want to let follow you or not.

For the slightly more worried...
If you know the email address of someone you may be able to find out what their Twitter name is - you can use the 'find friends' feature of Twitter in the settings to let Twitter access the email addresses in your contacts list.

You can also stop people from finding out, from your email address, what your Twitter name is by making sure that the " " option is unticked (I think unticked is the default setting) in the Security and Privacy section of your settings.

Remember that the security of a locked account is only as strong as the security of your followers - if one of them has their account compromised then anyone viewing their account can see your tweets.

Also, even people who are legitimately following you can still take a screenshot of your tweets and share that, or manually retweet your tweets by copying and pasting the text.

More about locked Twitter accounts:

4. FAQs aka FSQ (frequently searched-for questions)
At the risk of lengthening this blog post to the point of ridiculousness I thought I'd try and answer directly some of the questions that people type into Google that bring them here. I've no idea who it is that's searching (I just get a list of search terms in Google Analytics) and I've turned the keywords into more readable questions.

If you block someone on twitter can they see your tweets?
Yes, they can do this by viewing your profile, searching for tweets sent to or from you, finding tweets in a hashtag stream or logging out.

Can non-followers read your tweets?
Yes, unless your profile is private anyone can view any of your tweets (other than DMs which only go between two people). You can pre-emptively block someone who isn't following you, but they can still read your tweets.

If you block someone on twitter can they mention you in their tweets?
Yes, although it won't show up in your mentions / interactions tab - you'll have to search for your mentions (eg type @yourname into Twitter's search), search for their tweets, or visit their profile page. But they can still talk about you and converse with others mentioned in your tweets.

Can they retweet me if I've blocked them?
Yes, but only by copying and pasting the text and retweeting manually. You won't know that they've done this unless you look at their profile or search for their tweets.

How do you know if someone has blocked you on Twitter?
At time of writing (4 January 2014) I don't know of a foolproof way, without alerting them at least.

Probably you won't be able to use the Retweet button on their tweets, but if you try and retweet it (and can) they'll also get a notification that it's been retweeted. Similarly you won't be able to follow them (and Twitter might tell you that 'you have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user') however if they haven't blocked you, they get a notification that you've followed them.

Will someone know if you've blocked them on Twitter? 
Possibly not. They certainly won't get a notification but they may be able to work it out from trying to interact with your tweets as above.

Can a blocked twitter user still see your direct messages?
I don't know for certain (not having been in that situation). I suspect that because blocking them effectively stops them from following you then they will certainly be unable to send any new DMs but I don't know if any previously sent DMs will simply disappear. If you have sent them any DMs the safest option is to delete them - this will also delete them from their inbox (as only one copy is available).

Can people tell you've been looking for them or their tweets on Twitter?
Not as far as I'm aware. To the best of my knowledge Twitter does not make information available to users about what people have been searching for (and remember you can also search Twitter from outside of Twitter itself using Google, by searching for site:twitter.com keyword, and Topsy.com among other tools). So in that sense probably not.

But if you come across a tweet and respond to it then you've kind of given yourself away there ;)

Can you still view tweets when not logged in?
Yes, as long as those tweets don't belong to protected accounts, you can still see everything you just can't interact with them. Twitter's homepage (http://twitter.com) is a bit unwelcoming if you're not logged in so it helps to know the address of the profile you want to look at (eg http://twitter.com/ScreenName) and the basic search address which is http://search.twitter.com

Other than going private, is there a way to stop someone from seeing your tweets?
No. Blocking doesn't even do this (if they log out they can certainly see your tweets and even if logged in they can search for them and they'll probably show up in the results too). Protecting your account is the only way to stop someone seeing them - but you have to trust that everyone whom you've allowed to follow you isn't going to retweet your tweets without permission and give the game away.

On Twitter what does 'we block eggs' mean?
When someone is new to Twitter they have the symbol of an egg as their picture (avatar) which they can then change to something else. Spam accounts are often created just to send the same link to a lot of people, they don't bother to change the picture so people associate these eggs with spammers and are wary. Not all spammers have the egg picture and not all people with egg avatars are spammers, but it is a 'risk factor' for an account to be treated more cautiously.

I'd never heard the phrase used before (people usually say "I block..." and they usually talk about blocking spam accounts, to me 'we' is an unusual word to write on a Twitter account unless it's an organisational one) but it seems that this is a phrase that has been used on a few accounts shared by married couples looking for *ahem* other people for fun and games. Well that was a bit of an eye-opener ;) This will take you to the search page for that phrase, there's nothing particularly saucy there, just info about accounts who use that phrase in their Twitter bio https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22we+block+eggs%22

Presumably people who are using Twitter to talk about these interests are more likely to be targeted for spam and so have a lower tolerance for such accounts. You learn something new every day...


5. Further reading
    See Twitter's support page for Blocking users on Twitter.

    From my blog:
    What does a blocked person see when they look at your account? (14 January 2014)
    Don't assume your private Twitter account doesn't give your information away (7 December 2013)

     
    For those with an interest in the history of the the changes that Twitter brought in and then reversed again in December 2014 see Forbes' Blocking people on Twitter now just mutes them and Twitter reversed some / most / all of the changes in response to the complaints.









      72 comments:

      1. I should perhaps admit that I've blocked several thousand people over the years almost all of whom are spammers of one kind or another. This includes people who follow me because I once mentioned a word that appears in their bio, or if they're salespeople or SEO experts.

        ReplyDelete
      2. @WynnAbbott tweeted me to let me know that he's blocked and unblocked people and they've not defaulted back to following him.

        ReplyDelete
      3. The big problem I have with the blocking process is not a privacy concern but the fact that once blocked there is no legitimate way to find out if it was deliberate, a mistake or simply Twitter being its usual unreliable self. The blocked person needs to have an alternative connection method in order to simply ask the blocker the question. If they aren't sure why they were blocked, creating a spam account to simply enquire is not likely to help their case if something they have said or done has been misunderstood.

        ReplyDelete
      4. Yes I unwittingly blocked someone and only found out when I decided to find out how many people I'd blocked over the years (of course the genuinely spammy accounts are eventually killed off from Twitter so the number is much lower than the real number). I spotted the blocked person, unblocked and sent an apology. I probably didn't notice because others in my timeline follow them too and so they get retweeted a fair bit so I was still 'seeing' them in my timeline. They were a bit puzzled at the thought of having offended me in some way as there was certainly nothing obvious to suggest any falling out - but all pals again :)

        ReplyDelete
      5. What if the person is requesting to follow you because your tweets are locked but you want to public your tweets, If I block that person would they still view my tweets?

        ReplyDelete
      6. Correct. If your tweets are public then ANYONE can view your tweets. If you've blocked @FredSmith then he can just log out (or use a different account) to view your tweets. It's not possible to make your tweets public but prevent one person from seeing them.

        All a block does is stop any of @FredSmith's tweets to you from showing up in your mentions timeline. You can still see them if you search for his name, he can still see your tweets if he searches for you (but if he looks at your profile while logged in Twitter will tell him your tweets are protected, but if he logs out he can see them fine).

        Even if your tweets are hidden from everyone (protected account) this doesn't prevent people from knowing what you're talking about as they can see the tweets that people send to you and draw conclusions from that.

        ReplyDelete
      7. If you block and then unblock someone, does it go back to them following you like before or will it show that they are not following you?

        ReplyDelete
      8. Hi Anonymous (14 Oct 2012) - I don't have a lot of experience of unblocking people but the one person I blocked by accident and then unblocked was automatically re-added as a follower so I think they do go back to following you.

        But I'm not 100% how consistent this is.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. ie note Wynn's comment above (the comment is written by me but he told me about it)

          Delete
      9. I use the block/unblock method to remove people from my followers list. They don't get re-added back when I unblock them (always within a few seconds of blocking them). I use this to remove people who automatically follow me just because I tweeted some keyword that they're monitoring.

        ReplyDelete
      10. hey what if I mention someone who has blocked me? Can they see my mention for them? Help

        ReplyDelete
      11. Yes they can. Your tweet won't be shown to them in their Interactions tab, they'd have to go actively looking for it. They can do this in three ways, I don't think it matters if they're logged in or logged out: (1) visit your timeline where they can see all of your tweets or (2) they can also do a search for all of your tweets or (3) they can do a search for mentions sent to them.

        If you want to mention them then maybe spell their name slightly differently so that it won't show up in a search (and don't use the @ symbol) - but even if they don't find it in a search they can still choose to look at your profile and see it there. Although I'm assuming that if they've blocked you they don't want to see what you've said.

        Blocking does not stop anyone seeing anyone else's tweets, ever.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. What if I've blocked someone and we have a mutual friend who retweets my tweets, will the blocked person be able to see my tweets?

          Delete
      12. Yes they will. Even if you've blocked them they can still read your posts. Think of blocking in terms of stopping you from having to read their posts, it doesn't stop them reading yours.

        On Twitter.com (website) I can look at the tweets of the two people who I know have blocked me. On Echofon (for mobile phone) I can't, so if I want to view the tweets while on my phone I just use Safari and Twitter.com - and since I'm not logged in when I look at Twitter there, and their accounts are otherwise public, it's very easy to see their tweets.

        If your blockee is still logged in and your mutual friend doesn't RT your tweets, the blockee can still find your tweets by searching from:yourname or @yourname or yourname.

        Everything you post on Twitter can be seen by anyone. Making your account private offers some protection but people could still retweet you (they'd have to copy and paste it and retweet it manually, but still doable).

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. My account is private though, can they blocked tweep still see our mutual friend's retweets of my tweets?

          Delete
        2. Yes. I refer you to the last line of my previous comment which explains how this can happen.

          Delete
      13. Is there any way to tell who stops following you on Blogspot's Google friends connect wedgit?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. I'm afraid I've no idea how that works. They may have unfollowed you using Google connect but are instead following you via a different way - I'm following blogs via Google connect, my blogroll and Twitter, there's also RSS feeds too I think.

          Delete
      14. If I block someone, can they still "favorite" my tweets?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Yes and no.

          Not if using Twitter.com - I've just tried it on a homeopath who obligingly blocked me a year or so ago and serves as my main test case in these deliberations :)

          I was unable to favourite one of his tweets using the orange star clicky method, it just didn't 'stick'.

          However if I want to bookmark / save that tweet for later then it is very easy. Hover over the tweet of interest (despite being blocked I can still see all the tweets, and even if I couldn't I'd be able to if I logged out) where it says 'Expand' and then right-click 'copy link location'. I can create a bookmark for it, email it to myself etc. If I try and open it in a tab on the browser where I'm logged in to Twitter it won't work (it will redirect to the entire timeline, not that tweet) - so I need to open it in a different browser or log out.

          I can also embed it in a blog post... or copy and paste it and manually retweet it (and favourite that).

          But if you block me I can't add one of your tweets to my favorites 'timeline', no. It might be possible from a smartphone as Twitter clients behave slightly differently on that.

          Delete
        2. Hi there.. I am quite new on twitter. Made my account private so my ex wouldnt see my tweets anymore. based on what I read from your blog, I really cannot stop him from seeing my tweets right?
          I just hope that twitter has a protection like facebook where only your immediate friends can see your tweets, not your friends friends or followers of your followers

          Delete
        3. Hi, good question!

          To be honest if your Twitter account is private / protected and you're careful about who follows you then you're pretty much OK.

          The risk is from a 'leak' or 'mole'. Pretend we're friends and I'm following you but that I'm secretly evil and in league with your ex. I can see your tweets (cos you've allowed me to) - what's stopping me from copying the text and reposting, or taking a snapshot of the screen with your tweets on and reposting that? Nothing.

          This has nothing to do with Twitter though, this is just a thing that computer technology permits - anything that can be seen on someone else's screen can be captured & re-published. It's exactly the same with Facebook.

          Your ex might also be able to work out what you're up to, especially if a friend tweets 'hey see you at the Well Known Pub tonight? I'm getting there for half seven' - your ex can see tweets that are sent to you by searching for your name or your @mentions.

          I might write a blogpost "So you think your private Twitter account is protected do you?" ;)

          Jo

          Delete
        4. I did write a blogpost "So you think your private Twitter account is protected do you?" but I actually called it " Don't assume that your private Twitter account is all that private" http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/dont-assume-that-your-private-twitter.html

          Relying on your private account's tweets staying hidden relies more on your network of followers (the social side of things) than it does on the system (the settings put in place). The system in this case seems to be pretty robust but I can't gurantee the same for your followers...

          Delete
      15. Can someone block you if your account is protected?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Yes, but it's not very efficient.

          Let's say we're following each other (your account is protected but you've granted me access) and then we have a massive falling out. It's probably just simpler that I unfollow you (since your account is protected I won't see your tweets anyway) and not following you means that you can't DM me. I can block you as well, although I can't really see what else it adds.

          There's no real point in blocking someone that you're not following as you'd never see their tweets anyway... they can only DM you if you're following them, so if you're not following them they can't really trouble you.

          Is that what you mean?

          Delete
      16. Is it possible for somebody to block you as a follower if your account is protected?

        ReplyDelete
      17. So I have a stalker from real life who signed up for a Twitter account, went through my public timeline, and Favorited a huge chunk of it (I'm talking about 200 posts).

        Needless to say, this freaked me out and I blocked them and made my feed private.

        When I sign out and look at their Twitter account, I see 0 Favorites.

        When I'm signed in and look at their Twitter account, I see all the Favorites still there.

        My question is, can THEY still see the posts they Favorited?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. That I don't know. I'll need to create a temp account and try it out and get back to you, so that could take a while as I'm currently experiencing an online irritant myself! More here http://storify.com/jobrodie/tweets-from-fightracism2-1

          Delete
      18. I do not want my ex to be able to view my tweets, so I have changed my twitter handle. But he has favorited a couple of my tweets. When I went to his favorites page, my tweets on that page had the link to my new twitter handle.

        How do I completely cut him off?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Changing your Twitter handle if you have a publicly visible account doesn't stop someone from finding you if they've already got a link to you (in this case two of your favourites) because Twitter will update all of your tweets with your new name, which includes those previously sent (and favourited by others).

          The only way to cut him off completely is to make your account private and ensure he's not following you, then he can't see your tweets. Blocking him should stop him from being able to favourite any new tweets (if you want to keep your account private) but I don't know if it will affect previously sent and favourited tweets - he'd still be able to see your tweets though, even if you block him.

          You could delete the tweets that he's favourited (nothing to stop you sending them again after making your account private).

          You could change your Twitter name again once your account is private, and you've severed ties with him, as he wouldn't be able to access your tweets to get your new name.

          Delete
      19. I have blocked someone and this person continues to find away to re-add himself or be on my followers list. How do I completely get ride of this person from trying to add me. He is blocked and I send as spam. Thanks for your help

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. You can only block an account, not a person. If you've blocked someone they can just create a new account and follow you with that - I assume that's what you mean by 're-add himself' (all he's doing is following you with a new account).

          The only way to stop someone from following you is to make your account private (lock it) and then allow people to follow you on an individual basis. This is more work for you and it may not be possible to work out if an account is his or not.

          If it is the same account following you then I don't understand that because once you block an account it can't follow you (though it can see your tweets). It may be a glitch.

          Delete
      20. If I privatised my account and I accepted her follower request before blocking her, can she still see my tweets?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Probably not. If you've blocked her (but nothing else) then she can't *follow you* but would be able to see the tweets, but if you've made your account private too then she shouldn't be able to see what you've said - and neither can anyone else unless you've permitted them to follow you.

          However unless you know who you're allowing to follow you it's perfectly possible that she is using a different account to follow you with and so see your tweets.

          And of course if someone following you shares your tweets (by copying and pasting them) then she might see stuff.

          Delete
      21. Is it blocked when:
        you see that person'a profile and you are following them but they haven't sent any tweets yet?
        There is a person who I have talked to a little while who is a friend of a famous celeb. I have talked to her and just said "Hi". And she wrote down some tweets. She has been following that celeb too who happens to be one of my favorite ones. They have been communicating a lot and I'd love to know how. I asked her. But she I noticed she isn't following anyone. What does this mean?

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. I've not heard of a situation where someone sends (public) tweets from their account but it says no tweets have been sent - I don't think that's necessarily a block, it seems more likely that they've just deleted those public tweets. If you can remember what was in them you might be able to search for the phrases, and her account name, on Google and see copies of the tweets that Google has kept in its cache. It does depend how old the tweets are.

          If she's not following anyone then it would seem to be difficult for her to be communicating with this celebrity by the direct message system (as both people have to be following each other in order for this to work). Is the celebrity person following her?

          Log out of Twitter and visit her account - does it look different? Can you see tweets only when you're logged out? If so it *might* mean a block - but then if you've communicated with her through Twitter that seems unlikely. More likely that she's deleting her tweets I think.

          Delete
        2. Hey - it looks like you're right, I'd just not seen this before but I have now (see the very top of the post, I've updated it).

          If someone has blocked you and you visit their page you will see "@persons_name hasn't tweeted yet" but you can still see how many tweets they've sent (which rather gives the game away). Simply log out, or use a different browser - or even just search for their name, and you can see all of their tweets if you want to.

          Delete
      22. Dear Jo.
        I'm still new in Twitter, and I got a question.
        Say that Andy and I follow you. But you don't follow us. Andy and I also do not follow each other. IF I block Andy, and when I send tweet(s) to YOU, would Andy be able to see our conversation, be that at my profile, or your profile? This is while Andy is logged-in of course.

        From what I understood from your article and the comments, the answer is:
        In those conversations btwn You and me, Andy would only be able to see YOUR tweets, but not mine, right? Regardless whose profile (you or mine) that he's viewing.

        regards,
        Frank

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Yes and no. Andy won't see your tweets showing up in his timeline and he won't see mine to you because, by your action in blocking him, he's not following you and so won't see the conversation going on.

          However even if blocked he can see all of your tweets (unless you make your account private). He can just search for 'frank' or @frank on Twitter's search and all of your tweets will appear.

          If I, when logged in, look at the profile of one of the spammers who've blocked me then I see nothing, but if I search for their screen_name then I can see everything.

          The ONLY way to stop someone from seeing your tweets is to make your account private, and even then it's imperfect - because someone could post a screenshot. They shouldn't but the technology permits it.

          If we assume that Andy isn't particularly technical and hasn't read this blog post or others like it then it's entirely possible that he'll never see your tweets. But I'd not rely upon this as a strategy :)

          Delete
      23. Hello, I simply wish to block some people as I feel I really have nothing in common with them and so prefer that they were not following me at all. (However, at the same time I do not have any desire to hurt feelings or offend). They are not spammers. Is that a reasonable enough decision to block a person. As it is I am already not following them. I understand that twitter is a very public medium but such is my mixed feelings on this particular issue. Adios.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Hi Nicholas - you may block anyone you like for any reason. I have previously blocked people / companies from following me for precisely the reasons you give.

          If you are not following them then obviously you won't see their tweets in your timeline, though they can still contact you. If you want to ensure that they can't contact you directly then blocking is a good way of doing that.

          Yes, Twitter is a public medium and they can still read your tweets even if you block them, they just can't contact you.

          Jo

          Delete
      24. Thank you for the considered reply and apologies for the flurry of missives until I realized what was happening technology wise. This is my first foray into social media and thus far finding it an intriguing experience. Having tweets read not an issue seeing this is the nature of Twitter. I notice some people lock their accounts but for now that seems a little extreme to do. Thanks for the opportunity to make inquiries. Best regards. Nicholas.

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        1. You're very welcome. I think the issue of what actually happens when you block or are blocked has confused a lot of people. It's not at all obvious or intuitive what's going on and I'd rather people didn't have any unpleasant surprises.

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      25. Hi! My account is private and the person I want to block has never been added to my list. If I block that person, can they see me on our mutual followers/following list?

        For example, we both follow a certain celebrity, I blocked them but can still see their name on that celebrity's followers. If I block them and keep an active private twitter, can they see me on that celebrity's list?

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        1. Yes. I am blocked by someone who sells vitamin supplements and I use that person as a test case in these things. I can see the lists that they're a member of (where people have added them to a list I mean). I can't see who they're following on the website version of Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) but I can see who they follow and who follows them on the app I use on my phone (Echofon for iPhone). Even if it wasn't using that app I could see most of that information if I logged out and visited their profile.

          So 'yes' - this information is easily available. I'm not even certain that making your account private will help but I've not done that so don't know.

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        2. Actually *maybe* if you make your account private it will hide that information... I think you will have to try it and come back to me :)

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      26. Hey Jo! Thanks!
        I'm just confused - what do you mean you can see the lists they are members of but not of who they are following.

        I don't know how I would check. Because my account is private and I blocked them, but I can still see them on mutual following lists. Do you know if there is anyway to contact twitter.

        Also, I blocked them - so will they be able to search me?

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        1. I can see slightly different things on Twitter.com versus my iPhone app (which is Echofon).

          If I visit the profile of the person who has blocked me - but whose account is private - on Twitter.com I cannot see any of their tweets (though I can if I search for them at http://search.twitter.com) but I can see who they are following and who is following them. I can also see what lists they are a member of.

          On Echofon I can see all their tweets on their profile.

          If someone's account is private then I don't know if I can get any information about who they follow or who is following them, or what lists they're on. I suspect not.

          However anyone who might be a mutual friend of both you and the person you have blocked would be able to share that information with them. In fact anyone following you would be able to pass on that info I think.

          You are presumably able to see them because their account isn't private. They may, or may not, also have blocked you but as we've seen that doesn't make it hard to see what lists someone's on.

          If your account is private then no-one can search or find your tweets (unless they are following you). However they can search for tweets that have been sent by other people to you (eg searching for @JoBrodie brings up tweets sent to me), which may give information away.

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      27. i have been blocked by someone but I have not blocked them and I have tweeted him can he c those tweets thanks

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        1. Yes he *can* see them but he might never see them unless he looks for them. They will not show up in his Mentions or Interactions but he can find them easily either by looking at your page or by searching for anything sent to his @name.

          If he has no wish to see what you've written and is not searching for tweets sent to him (and if other people don't point the messages out to him) then he will not see them.

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      28. This is interesting Joe, thanks :-) Although one would admit that spammers are annoying, what I find even more annoying, (even stressful lol) is this new tendency on twitter where people do not simply block you, if they disagree, but rather reported you as spam, which will eventually lead to a suspension of your account. Reasons for such a coward and despicable act varies... vengeance, personal war, etc...Who knows but the person that hit the button?

        I have 813 followers since about 2 months and I do not follow aggressively. In fact I do not look for more followers and find amusing the race for followers. I prefer to keep my followers to a reasonable amount so I can interact with them, as much as possible. I have carefully read the rules of Twitter regarding suspension of account and I'm must admit I am quite puzzled... So my account was suspended for 10 minutes because apparently I sent unsolicited tweets to too many peoples? Well although I'm certainly not an hacker I am bright enough to spot immediately the gross logical error in that statement from twitter! Guess what? I still have 813 followers so none of them reported me, right? Hence the person(s) who reported me is (are) not following me, right? Hence they reported me based on a RT ! Well I can not control who/what/when RT my tweets, right? Stupid stupid...and coward. I wish I could knew who did that, so I can feed them their own medicine, lol ! Me vindictive? naaahhhh ;-))) Cheers

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      29. can you see the accounts of people who have logged into their accounts and viewed your tweets when they are not following you?

        ReplyDelete
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        1. I don't believe so. I've never heard of anyone, under any circumstances, being able to find out if a particular person has viewed their tweets*. I don't think Twitter makes that information available and I can't see it ever happening to be honest.

          Presumably it is technically possible for Twitter to have this information - if someone is logged in and makes a request to Twitter's server to show them a particular page I think it's fair to say that Twitter has a record of this. If someone is logged out then presumably they'd have a record of which IP address / browser type requested the information. But I think it would be quite weird for them to share that information with anyone. The only possible thing I could think of would be if the Police asked for it, but I think that would be fairly exceptional.

          I'm going to go with 'no' but concede that it might at least be technically possible.

          *beyond that person unwittingly giving themselves away by replying to a tweet or making some reference to it.

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      30. where can i see my block list?

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        1. Have a look at some of the apps here http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/11249/can-i-see-who-ive-blocked-in-twitter

          Note that Twitter doesn't show you a list of people that you've blocked, or a list of people that have blocked you. The apps in the link above will (may) let you manage who you've blocked. I don't know of anything that will let you see all the people who have blocked you.

          If you've used a smartphone app to block or mute users then that app may also give you info about who you've blocked.

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      31. As of a month or so ago “You are not authorized to look up related results for that Tweet” doesn’t seem to happen any more, as far as I can tell.

        Even if you’re blocked, you can see entire tweets and their related conversations.

        Can any else confirm that this is accurate?

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        1. Yes, that's what I see.

          But, If I look at the profile of the person who's blocked me then I see no tweets and the note saying "X hasn't tweeted yet".

          However if I search for their name in Twitter's search I can see every one of the tweets that they've sent, and every tweet sent to them as well.

          If I then click on one of those tweets (in the search results window) I can see any threaded conversations too - I'm not getting a note about 'you are not authorised' either. I don't know what others see, Twitter has a habit of rolling things out at different rates for different users.

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      32. Hi, great article. What I'd love to know is, if I've sub tweeted on some ones tweet and then blocked that person, can they still view my sub tweets? If they reply to my sub tweets will I get a notification or be able to see it if that person doesn't follow me? What happens if I report an account as spam?

        Regards

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        1. I'm not sure what you mean by sub tweeted here..?

          Do you mean reply to their tweet and then block them? If so, then yes they can still see your tweet but it won't show up in their mentions, they'd have to go and look at your timeline. I don't know if you'd get a notification if they reply as I switched off all notifications as soon as they started that option, so I've never experienced it.

          If you report an account as spam I think this is just taken into consideration with any other spam reports, Twitter's own algorithms and quite possibly a human person looking at the account. If the account is otherwise behaving normally then the chances are the spam report will be ignored, if the account is sending out lots of similar messages then the report may be taken more seriously.

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      33. hi.question.

        here's a situation:
        A and B follows each other. C follows B. All these three are protected accounts. If A blocks C,can C still read B mentions to A?

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        1. I think 'yes'.

          Because C follows B, C is able to view every single tweet that B sends (unless it's a DM). They can do this by viewing B's profile (eg http://twitter.com/B) where all their tweets can be seen (although you can only scroll back so far). They will therefore be able to view what B sends to A though not what A sends to B (because A has blocked them). However B's tweets sent to A will not show up in C's timeline (because C is not following A thanks to the block) and so will only be seen if they know to go looking for them.

          Although they can't see what A writes they may be able to work out what A has said to B, from B's responses to A.

          Example:
          A writes " ------ " (C can't see it because A's account is protected
          B writes "@A great, we're meeting in the King's Arms on Queen Street at 7pm, see you and D there" (C can view that)

          C can probably work out from B's tweet what A wrote (along the lines of 'yes I can come, where and when?') and also where A might be at 7pm later that night and with whom...

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      34. Hi, if I block someone and accidentally mention them in a tweet will they receive it even though they're blocked?

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        1. Yes.

          As long as they haven't blocked you then any tweet you send mentioning them will show up in their mentions / interactions tab. If they've blocked you as well then your tweets won't show up (though they can still go looking for any tweets mentioning them, or look at your timeline).

          If you block someone it just stops them from sending you tweets (again you can go looking for any tweets they may have sent but they don't show up in your timeline).

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      35. Hi - this is such a great page of info. Thank you for it. My question: What if you block a person and a third party that you both follow replies to a tweet of yours? Will the blocked person see the third party's tweet and also your original tweet they reply to? thanks

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        Replies
        1. Thank you for the kind words and you're welcome :)

          Don't forget that if you block someone they can still read your tweets. They just have to go to your profile page at Twitter.com (it may be that some smartphone apps won't show tweets but the web browser version always seems to). Even in a situation where Twitter or an app doesn't show the tweets all they have to do is log out - and then Twitter doesn't know who they are. As long as your account isn't private *anyone* can see it.

          So in answer to your question - yes. Everyone in the equation can go and look at anyone else's Twitter profile and see all tweets.

          If the blocked person is included in the tweet that the third party sends in reply to yours then all three of you can see that tweet. The blocked person can see everyone's tweet but it wouldn't have shown up in their timeline or mentions.

          For example I have blocked someone who rants about alternative medicine. I was a bit surprised to get a tweet from someone else mentioning both of us and, forgetting I'd blocked the ranter, replied to both. The ranter replied to me a few times but I didn't know because I was only seeing (in my mentions) the tweets from someone else. It was only when I clicked on the ranter's name and saw all her tweets that I realised she'd been trying to communicate with me about some nonsense or other. She could see my tweets and although I could see hers they weren't being delivered to me.

          It's best to think of every single tweet sent on Twitter as public. The only exceptions are direct messages (and there's been at least one case of something going wrong there and them appearing on someone's public timeline) and locked accounts (again it is technically easy for someone to repeat the contents of a tweet from a locked account so it is not perfectly secure either).

          Jo

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      36. Hi, I have a question.
        If you have blocked someone will your direct messages still be on there account? So can they still see them? Or will they still be on there

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        1. Hello - I genuinely don't know the answer to that. As far as I'm aware no-one I've ever DMed with has blocked me and I've certainly not blocked them. I'd guess the messages would disappear...

          There are some weird things about DMs though. It seems that only one copy exists so if you send one and the recipient reads it, and deletes it, it's deleted from your message box too.

          So this makes it additionally difficult to tell - if someone's blocked you their messages may have been removed by Twitter or they may have deleted themselves in annoyance.

          Additionally - I learned about an hour ago that Twitter's just changed its blocking policy slightly and I'm still learning what it all means.

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      37. Emailed commenter asks: "Me, Fred and Ginger have public profiles. I've blocked Fred but Fred and Ginger follow each other. If I post a tweet and Ginger replies will their reply appear in Fred's timeline (even though I have blocked Fred)? I know Fred can just look directly at profile etc, I'm just wondering whether it would "automatically" be sent to them because I don't really want those replies to me to be flagged up to Fred.

        If they're blocked they can't message me through my mentions but that doesn't stop Fred asking Ginger or anyone else to contact me on their behalf, and I don't want that."

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        1. The only times Ginger's tweet would show up in Fred's timeline would be if she included @Fred's at name anywhere in the tweet or started the tweet with anything other than your @name. So she might write "Had a great time today with @yourname" and Fred would be able to see that because that tweet would be sent to all of her followers. She might also write "@yourname lovely to see you today, @Fred says hi" and that would show up in his timeline too. If she writes "@yourname see you later" then that won't show up as it's directed to your mentions (tweet starts with an @) and doesn't include Fred's name.

          Those are the only situations where I think Twitter would actively display a tweet on someone's timeline.

          But of course he can still read all of your tweets, read all of Ginger's tweets (and anyone else's tweets) and follow threaded conversations by clicking on one tweet and then the whole conversation unfurling.

          Don't forget it's entirely possible that Fred may have an automated system set up to receive ALL of your tweets (or Ginger's) sent to them by email. Systems like Twilert can do this.

          Jo

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      38. If I block somebody on twitter and I go to their profile and retweet one of thier retweets, will they get a notification saying that I retweeted thier retweet? The person doesn't follow me and I'm blocking them.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Good question. I actually don't know the answer!

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      Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

      Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).