How To Tell If You’ve Been Blocked On Twitter

UPDATE: While this article still has some value – there’s a lot to be gained from having a second Twitter account just in case – Twitter has recently made it a lot easier to find out if somebody has blocked you. All you have to do is try to follow them. Click here to read an updated article on this topic.

Various articles have been written about how to determine if somebody has done the unthinkable and blocked you on Twitter, but they are inconsistent and in many cases quite wrong.

There is, however, one very easy way to tell immediately if you’ve been blocked: open a second Twitter account.

When you’ve been blocked on the network, and try and access somebody’s tweets, this is what you see.How To Tell If You've Been Blocked On Twitter

(And yes, I have been blocked by Stephen Fry – find out why here.)

This is essentially identical to what you see when somebody has protected their status updates, so it can be confusing. Moreover, it can be a little embarrassing if you issue a request to follow to somebody who you later find out has blocked you.

But there is a loophole: Twitter blocks on a per account basis – not by using cookies or IP addresses. By logging out of Twitter and revisiting their profile page with a different account, you can immediately see what is what. If you can now see and read their tweets, then your other (likely main) account has been blocked. If you still see the ‘This person has protected their tweets’ message, then that is what they’ve actually done.

So You’ve Been Blocked – Now What?

People have many different reasons for blocking somebody, and most of the time a block is issued legitimately, at least in the eyes of the blocker. Chances are that the person is unlikely to reverse their decision, and even if they might it’s awkward for you to now approach them, so the best thing to do is just move on.

Plenty more tweets in the sea, after all.

Two Accounts Good, One Account Bad

Apart from this easy and convenient way to find out if you’ve been blocked, there are other valid reasons to have a second Twitter account, too.

  1. It can protect you from identity theft.
  2. If Twitter suspends your main account (for whatever reason), you have another way to contact them and issue a help ticket.
  3. It’s useful for testing purposes, allowing you to experiment with new features on the network, or via a different device (i.e., a mobile phone).
  4. You can try different avatars, background wallpapers, even protected updates, without impacting your main account.
  5. If you run a blog, a second account could be used to share new articles, which gives your readers an alternative way to subscribe to just those updates (avoiding the other tweets you likely make on your main account).

Blocking is very much a part of the Twitter experience and while the feature definitely needs some improvements, for many it plays an important part in making them feel safe and secure on the network. Finding yourself blocked by somebody else is never pleasant, but it’s not something to obsess over, either.

Let’s face it: most of the time, you will have some idea of why it has happened. And if not, or if you feel that an individual has blocked you for something utterly ridiculous, do your very best to regroup and move on. Much like if you lend somebody $20 and then never see them again, it was probably worth it.