Why social networks need better blocking tools

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge


Blocking is having a moment.

Last month, Tracy Chou announced that she had raised a little under $1.5 million to launch Block Party, an anti-harassment startup that helps people filter abuse out of their social media experiences. On Monday, Block the New York Times, a tool to block 800 Times reporters on Twitter at once, materialized via a satirical website.

Meanwhile, the unique blocking mechanics of the audio social network Clubhouse — and their enthusiastic use by the platform’s lead investors — have raised questions about whether people in positions of power should be blocking to avoid public scrutiny.

Behind all these stories, I think, is a kind of despair over what public social networks have done to public debate. Context…

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