I have never used a blockchain on Twitter, but I also have never had to. The twitter blockchain is an add-on that allows users to block all users on a following/followers page. Recently, blockchains have become a safe and easy way to avoid harassment, doxxing, and abuse from trolls. However, there is some controversy over its use.
Many people have argued that it hurts innocent users who are blocked because of the blockchain and discourages discourse of topics. Recently, Alterna Comics, an indie comic company that publishes creator-owned stories, released a new social media policy. In the policy, Alterna Comics asks that creators do not use “block bots/blocking/block chains or any other kind of program used to block thousands of people.”
Our Social Media Code of Conduct has now been publicly made available to see on our Submissions page: https://t.co/mFzOHqMmUD pic.twitter.com/AqOYHkwfvI
Alterna Comics forced Micah Myers off a book he was lettering because Peter Simett, Alterna Comics’ founder, told the writer that Meyers had to unblock “comicsgate” members or the book may be in danger of cancelation. Meyers instead decided to quietly leave the project and explained in a tweet he had blocked a lot of people for his own mental health and to avoid negativity in his life.
I heavily disagree with Alterna Comics new approach to social media and I think this precedent is dangerous. I have almost six years working in high-stress customer service jobs. I have worked previously for Disney in their parks and in their call center. While there I quickly learned that if I was being verbally abused by a guest I was in no way required to take that abuse. I was allowed to hang up the phone, close my ticket window, and call security. People have said some nasty things to me for following policy and procedures of the Walt Disney World Resort.
While I have a complicated history with Disney and do not always agree with some of their practices I can say I applaud the way managers and supervisors have stood up for me and stuck with my decisions in high-stress guest situations as well supported anytime I had to hang up the phone or walk away from my ticket booth. In a strict business sense, creators and comic book companies are selling you a product but you are not entitled to it. You have every right not to buy the product but creators should also have every right to block you if they feel threatened or harassed just as I have been able to do in my career.
The internet, particularly Twitter, is a beautiful thing. I have gained many connections and found new stories, video games and media to consume through users like me as well as creators. However, it also allows easy access to these people that can easily be abused.
Recently, a good friend of mine, CJ Pendragon, wrote a politically charged column in regards to the comic book industry. Following its publication she left out to dry by the very site she published it on. Her mentions and DMs were toxic and dangerous. She was being called vicious untrue things and being sent death and rape threats. As a mother, she was understandably worried about her safety and that of her family. Currently, the law does little to nothing to protect people from cyber-harassment so she employed a blockchain.
The CEO of the site she previously worked on received a threatening voicemail that was intended for CJ. He forwarded her the transcript of the voicemail and it was reported to the FBI and local authorities. While she has not heard back from the FBI, her local Sheriff’s Office said they can’t do anything until it was a threat made directly to her. I truly believe that without her blockchain this person would have been able to reach her much easier.
My friend’s safety is far more important than your ability to read her tweets. While most trolls will never act on their violent threats to said person, we are still all human and they hurt. I have dealt with my own threatening messages in response to an opinion I had.
In response to the opposition about blockchains, CJ said, “People feel entitled to others on social media but that shouldn’t come at the price of our safety.” It’s incredibly selfish to tell people they can’t use a blockchain because it might block an “innocent” person. At no point is your ability to see someone’s tweet worth more than their personal mental health and personal safety.