• flipboard

When Does Blocking Become Anti-social on Pinterest and Twitter?

I’m often asked about the privacy of using social media. The question usually goes something like this:

“If I have a friend or acquaintance who I’d prefer didn’t see my posts, should I just block them?”

When Does Blocking Become Anti-social on Pinterest and Twitter?

I always respond with the statement, “Most social media is public.” I say most, because Facebook is definitely more of a private network, and it’s very easy to even be friends with someone without showing them all of your information and posts.

But on Pinterest and Twitter? These networks are completely public. Anyone can peruse your boards, whether they’re following you or not; Anyone can browse your tweets.

So, why block someone on Pinterest or Twitter? And, more importantly, what happens when you do?

What Happens if I Block Someone on Pinterest?

It’s important to know exactly what happens before you decide to block. If you block someone on Pinterest, they won’t be notified – until they try to interact with you. Because Pinterest is so inherently public, so are your boards, unless you create a secret board. If you decide to block someone, here is the message they get:

Blocking people on Pinterest

There’s no hiding from that. You’ve effectively let that person know, in no uncertain terms, that you have no interest in interacting with them. If they click to learn more about why you’ve blocked them, they are directed to a page on Pinterest that says “If you’re getting a message that you’ve been blocked when you try to follow a specific person or interact with his/her pins, it is most likely that your interaction with them was outside their comfort-zone.”

Think about that. According to Pinterest, you’ve just implied that this person is some kind of a stalker, or worse…

Knowing this, if you get to the point of wanting to block someone, they probably should have done something bad enough for you to actually report them to the network.

Blocking someone on Pinterest means that

  • The person you block will not be able to follow you or interact with your pins.
  • You will not be able to follow this person or interact with their pins.
  • Neither you nor the other person will be able to like, repin, or comment on each other’s pins.
  • Any previous follows that existed between you and the other person are automatically removed.
  • Any previous comments between you and the other person are automatically removed.
  • Any previous likes and/or repins between you and the other person are NOT automatically removed. You may, however, unlike pins to remove them individually. All other interactions are blocked.

Is There Any Privacy on Pinterest?

Secret boards were recently announced. This is a great way to organize your pins before you’re ready to show them to the world or to maintain a board that is for your eyes only.

What About Twitter?

Twitter was built as a public network. This means that you don’t even have to follow someone to go to their page and see what they’re up to.

So if you are going to tweet, treat the message as something you would be happy to share with your mother.

What Happens if I Block Someone on Twitter?

Very little, except that when the person goes to your page and clicks “Follow,” they will be greeted with this message:

Blocking on Twitter

You will not see any @mentions coming through from this person either.

While this works well as a means of avoiding a true spammer, if you’re trying to block that annoying high school friend from interacting with you, be aware that they won’t be your friend online, or offline, for much longer…

Can I Have Any Privacy On Twitter?

Sure you can. To unclutter your Home Timeline, simply unfollow those whose tweets you don’t want to see. If you don’t want the general public to see your Tweets, there is something you can do on Twitter without going down the “Block” route. You can choose to have a protected account.

When you protect your Tweets, the following restrictions are put in place:

  • People will have to request to follow you; each follow request will need approval.
  • Your Tweets will only be visible to users you’ve approved.
  • Other users will not be able to retweet your Tweets.
  • Protected Tweets will not appear in Twitter search or Google search.
  • @replies you send to people who aren’t following you will not be seen by those users (because you have not given them permission to see your Tweets).
  • You cannot share permanent links to your Tweets with anyone other than your approved followers.

It’s Really a Question of Etiquette…

The way I look at it, blocking someone with whom you would ordinarily interact in the real world, is tantamount to walking past them and blanking them on the street. They can see you — you’re right there in public, but you refuse to interact. It’s a bridge burner. Creating a secret board or unfollowing is a less aggressive approach that accomplishes the same goal without unintentionally (or intentionally) offending someone. Social media ettiquette is evolving, so it’s best to be informed and err on the conservative side.


Guest Author:  Tammy Fennell is the CEO and co-founder of MarketMeSuite, the “Inbox For Social” for Small Businesses. She co-founded MarketMeSuite and has grown it to over 30,000 small business users. Tammy is also the editor of WeAreSocialPeople.com. Connect with Tammy @Tammykfennell.



Want to Learn How to Market Your Business and Personal Brand on Social Networks?

My book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 115,000.

You can download and read it now.


Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Lewis Cowles

    I couldn’t disagree more…

    This is not a question of etiquette, people that find themselves blocked are usually blocked because of their own poor etiquette. I don’t know of anyone that does it immediately, unless marketed to and I think all normal people hate having a stranger trying to sell them something via e-mail, inMail, direct message etc, it’s even worse if they are just offensive for no reason.

  • Tammy Kahn Fennell

    Jeff, thank you so much for publishing this! I’ve been getting a lot of great responses on Twitter… from “it’s super cathartic to block someone” to “yep, it definitely has burned bridges for me!” I am enjoying writing this series on social etiquette. Anyone have any suggestions for my next piece?!

  • Maria

    What happens if someone threatens you? I accidentally pinned from someone and she got so upset to the point where now she keeps posting pins with my user name calling me horrible names. I reported her yet nothing happens! I used to enjoy Pinterest I never thought there were people like this. It’s upsetting. I think what bothers me the most is they hide behind a computer screen and feel the could say whatever they want. Blocking is not enough.

    • lfhpueblo

      Click on her name in the Pin, go to her page, look for the little black flag in the middle upper portion near her name down a bit and to the right. Click on the little black flag for a drop down menu. There you should be able to block her. I’ve been blocking a lot of people lately. When people cuss at me about my posts, I don’t care if it is polite or not, I just block them. I’ve had situations the same as you on numerous occasions. I don’t mess with those people. I block them. I don’t care if it hurts those people’s feelings that I blocked them, because they are obviously trying to hurt mine by attacking in such a manner. This guys post is fine for anyone that doesn’t post anything religious in matter, or political in matter. Yet, if you do, the crazies come out and attack. I say go crazy somewhere else. I just don’t interact with them, nor do I let them clutter up my boards with their continued rants. Just block them. Find that little black flag on their main board page in the upper middle, near their name, down some and to the right. Click on it, drop down menu appears and do what you have to do to feel comfortable on your boards again. Let them post and rant on their own boards. Good Luck. I’ve been getting slammed lately by the crazies because I’m outspoken on my own pins and boards with my own opinions. However I’m not cussing or cursing, they just don’t agree with my opinions. Some people can’t handle that.

  • hello

    Ow I totally agree! Facebook has it, isn’t it so? Just do it Pinterest. ;))

  • Sunny KinkyandKonfident Gibson

    I have been blocked on pinterest simply because I pinned more pins in one day than that particular pinner allowed…I mean, WTF? Why bother to create a board, fill it with pins, and then try to control the number of repins someone can make from your board? It’s not even their original photos…it’s just photos they found and “shared” on pinterest…just like the rest of us…people make me so tired some times with their petty nonsense…

    • Christina Doyle

      Totally agree. Today I was blocked for, what I’m guessing, was pinning too many pins from someone’s public board. Not going to take it too personally, but this person has more than a 1.2k following them, and the board I was pinning from had more than 13k in it.
      I’m disabled, house bound, and learning watercolor painting for therapy. I sometimes do pin quite a bit at one time so I have tons of inspiration to pull from when I practice. But so what? I’ve had people pull 50+ pins off cosmetics, Filofax, and homesteading boards. I didn’t care one bit.
      I have several people I’m following for artistic inspiration. I’m not going to bother comparing my pin sources by scrolling back up and down repeatedly to make sure I’m only repinning a few from each person.
      “Outside of their comfort zone” is I repinned too many images from their public board? Riiiiight.

    • Mirjana Vanili

      I was blocked, several times, same reasons, too many pins. 🙂 But what is interesting, there are all piners with hundreds of pins, like 50 000, 60 000, last one with over than 82 000 pins. Can you belive that??? Hahhahaa. I block them back, of course. 😛

  • MoffatFan#1

    I have been blocked several times, and really haven’t figured out why. One happened after I had pinned 2 and tried to do a third, and another was when I tried to pin a suggested pin… in both cases knitting. The most recent has something like 170k pins, and I just broke the 3k mark…

  • Cathleen Partridge

    I have blocked people. I have well over 100,000 pins, Sometimes someone will spend hours – life half the night pinning an entire board of mine. Lazy. The fun is in the hunt, figuring out how to do searches, finding things off-sight, getting creative and taking time to assemble interesting and well put-together boards. Then some lazy person comes along and decides to copy every single pin you have on a huge board that took many months or years to put together. This is not right.

  • Moonbeam Bimm

    I have had a few people block me in the last few weeks.. but what I don’t understand is, I did not pin from their boards.. they repinned my pins, then blocked me! um.. why? I just can’t figure it out. I don’t care if people pin my pins.. heck, take as many as you like, but why block me? (not that I care too much, but I just can’t see the reasoning behind it, and that’s what bugs me.) What happens to the pins they pinned off my boards when they block me, do they stay on their boards?

  • I just blocked someone on Pinterest. Pinterest has mechanisms that tries to prevent people cloning your board by people still try to do it, they don’t like or comment, they don’t change the description text they just seem want to take as much content you’ve collected as possible as quickly as possible. It took years to collect all that stuff, but the main reason I blocked him is he also posts porn. I don’t mind people taking 5-10 or whatever pins Pinterest allows but this guy seem to have managed to do over 100 all from one of my boards, so when I looked at his profile I just decided he wasn’t someone I would follow or interact with nor do I even know him in real life so I blocked him. I put too much effort into curating content to have someone systematically copy it all.