What Is Blocking On Twitter and How Does it Work?

How to Block Someone on Twitter So They Can't See Your Tweets

Block on Twitter menu
Block on Twitter menu. Screengrab

Blocking on Twitter is a simple feature that lets users "block" other users from following or publicly interacting with them. It's used to control spam and hide annoying people who send bothersome tweets.

With one click of the "block" button on another user's profile, you can prevent that person from having your tweets appear in their personal timeline of tweets. The block also means a user can't send you @reply messages, and any @mentions of you that they make won't appear in your "mentions" tab.

When other users scroll your blocked user's profile page, your name and profile photo will not appear in their list of followed people, since they essentially will be prevented from following you.

They Don't Have to Know You Blocked Them

If a user is following you and you block them, they do not get notified that you've blocked them, at least not right away. If they later click on your name and notice they're no longer following you and then click the "follow" button to try to follow you again, they will get a notice through a pop-up button that tells them they have been blocked from following you.

Many users have requested that blocked people not get that pop-up notification, and Twitter did briefly implement a change in the blocking feature to keep people from getting notified in December 2013. But Twitter soon reversed course and re-implemented the blocking notification.

Blocked People Can Still Read Your Tweets

While the people you block won't have your tweets show up in their timelines, they can still read your public tweets (unless you have a private Twitter feed, but most people leave their tweets public, since Twitter is designed to be a public network.)

Blocked people simply have to sign in as another user (it's easy to create multiple IDs on Twitter) and go to your profile page, where they can easily see your public timeline of tweets.

But the blocking function does a decent job of disassociating the blocked user from your public appearance on Twitter since they don't appear in your list of followers and their @replies won't be associated with you.

How Blocking Works on Twitter

It's simple to block someone on Twitter. All you do is click a button labeled "block" on their profile page.

First, click on their username, then click the little down arrow next to the tiny human silhouette. Select "Block @usersname" from the drop-down list of options. It's usually right below "Add or remove from lists" and right above "Report @usersname for spam."

When you click "block @usersname," the only change you should see right away is the word "Blocked" will appear on their profile page, where ordinarily the "follow" or "following" button appears.

When you mouse over the "blocked" button, the word will change to "unblocked," signaling that you can click it again to reverse the block. then the button changes back to the little blue bird next to the word "Follow."

You can block people who don't follow you as well as people who do follow you. You can also block people you follow along with those you don't follow.

Why Block People on Twitter?

Typically, though, this button is used to block unwanted followers -- people who are following you and annoying you in some fashion with their tweets, @reply tweets, and @mentions.

Many people use the blocking function to keep people who send annoying, obscene, inappropriate or otherwise offensive tweets from showing up in their list of followers.

Since Twitter allows users to browse one another's list of followers, many people do just that when they are checking someone out on the social network.

So if you allow crazy or abusive people to show up in your list of followers, well, it may look like you're not participating in a high-class community on Twitter. For that reason, many users peruse their list of followers and block those with a lot of obscenities or spam or otherwise offensive material in their profile or tweets, so their profiles won't show up or be publicly linked to them in any way.

See the Twitter Help Center for more about how to block on Twitter.