Twitter is testing a ‘soft block’ feature to remove unwanted followers as part of privacy improvements

Twitter is testing a new privacy feature that allows users to remove followers without having to block them.

The feature, which the company says makes it “easier to be the curator of your own list of followers,” replicates the “soft blocking” technique used by many Twitter users, which involves blocking and then immediately unblocking the other person.

Twitter users included in the web test of the new feature will be able to remove followers by clicking the menu next to the account name in their list of followers.

The test follows last week’s announcement of a so-called “Safe Mode” aimed at combating harassment on Twitter. According to the company, the trial mode will automatically ban accounts that use “insults or hate speech” as well as those that send “repeated and uninvited” replies or mentions.

soft block

The new “soft block” tested by Twitter follows a long line of other features such as retweets, @-replies and hashtags that were first developed by users of the social platform.

A soft ban currently involves banning and then immediately unlocking an account. The end result is that the account no longer follows the user, but in a less dramatic way than directly blocking it.

To see a user’s Tweets, the soft-banned account would have to re-follow them, a process that requires permission to be granted when using protected tweets (i.e., tweets that only approved followers can see).

The social platform also seems to have more privacy options as Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

Last week, Twitter’s head of security product Christine Su tweeted to ask her followers what a possible new “close friends”-like privacy feature on Instagram should be called.

Instagram’s “close friends” toggle allows the user to restrict posts to a pre-selected list of accounts, allowing them to control who sees certain posts without having to block other people or juggle multiple accounts.