Why doesn't Twitter block Tweets properly?


For the sake of my mental health, I've blocked a few people and organisations on Twitter. They can't see what I do, and I can't see them. I'm sure you've done the same to a celebrity or pundit you just can't stand the sight of. Perhaps you have an abuser you'd rather not have thrust in your face. The blocking tool is pretty handy!

Except it doesn't work the way I would expect it to. Here's an example where my friend, Kyle Evans (go see him on tour), has quote tweeted an account I've blocked:

A quote tweet. The quoted content is unavailable.

Here's the blocked account:
Tweets have been blocked from this account.

In this example, it's a sports account. I've chosen this as an example so readers don't get hung-up on who I've chosen to block. I block most sports accounts - including the one of your favourite team - but it could just as easily be the account of a bigot, harasser, or attention-seeking loon.

Why am I seeing someone's reaction to a user I've blocked? The most common thing I see is people quote tweeting, saying "OMG! Look at this idiot. How can people be so cruel?"

This is basically the "curiosity gap". The sort of headline that goes "You'll never believe what happened next....!!!!"

And - it works! I want to click through to see what the account I blocked has said. I want to hate-binge on something I know will enrage me.

I expect that's why Twitter keeps it that way. It increases the engagement metrics.

You can't stop seeing quote tweets (although you can stop seeing retweets). You can mute a user, rather than blocking them, but you will still see quotes from other people.

The only way around it is to unfollow people who keep quote-tweeting rubbish.

What an annoying situation!


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