In Our August, 2017 Issue:

Block and tackle social media pests

by

Block­ing peo­ple on social media has become a con­tentious sub­ject in recent years. We are crit­i­cized when we block peo­ple whose ideas we don’t want to hear. We’re told it cre­ates a bub­ble that strength­ens our pre­con­ceived notions of the world.

But trolls are real. And social media is designed to let us choose who to friend, fol­low or hear from. You can block hurt­ful peo­ple and keep them as far away from you as pos­si­ble. Learn­ing how to block on social media will help you keep your online life safe and worry-​free

When you just want some­one to stop being a bother, use this handy ref­er­ence for block­ing on every major social media platform.

Android: Phone calls and SMS messages

Through the Phone app

The most ver­sa­tile way to block peo­ple on Android is through the phone app’s block list

The short ver­sion: Phone app > “Three-​dot” menu > “Set­tings” > “Call block­ing” > “Add a number

First, go into the Phone app, and tap the "three-dot" icon at the top-right. Next, select "Settings" from the dropdown menu. Choose "Call blocking" from the menu. On some devices, this may be called something slightly different, such as "Block numbers" on most Samsung devices. Tap "Add a number" or similar; for instance, on Samsung devices, there will instead be a "+" icon. Enter the phone number that you wish to block and tap "Block". Finally, you will be returned to the previous screen, with the newly blocked number listed. You can repeat this for as many numbers as needed.

Through the Recent Calls menu

A more direct approach is also pos­si­ble. If you receive a call from a num­ber you wish to block, do the fol­low­ing (or some­thing sim­i­lar) on most Android devices

The short ver­sion: Tap a con­tact to block > “Call details” > “Block number

Open up your call log in the Phone app (typically under the "Recents" tab), and click the entry of the person you wish to block. Then tap "Call details" in the menu that opens. Next, choose "Block number" from the menu that opens. And finally tap "Block" to confirm.

Through the Android Mes­sages app

If you receive a text mes­sage from a per­son you want to block and are using the default Android Mes­sag­ing app (or a sim­i­lar appli­ca­tion), use this approach

The short ver­sion: Open mes­sage thread to block > “Three-​dot” menu > “Peo­ple & options” > “Block [Sender name]

Open the message thread of the person you want to block, and tap the "triple-dot" icon at the top-right. Next, tap the "People & options" entry in the menu that appears. Tap "Block [Sender Name]" from this new "People & options" menu. And finally click "Block" to confirm.

Most other mes­sag­ing apps have a sim­i­lar func­tion; how­ever, you may need to search through dif­fer­ent menus. For instance, the Sam­sung Mes­sages app has a “Block num­ber” entry when you click the “three-​dot” icon inside of a Mes­sages thread



iOS and iPhone: Phone calls and SMS messages

To block a per­son who has recently con­tacted you, sim­ply open the “info menu” from either the Phone, Face­Time, or Mes­sages apps

  • In Phone: Go to Recents and tap the ⓘ icon next to the con­tact you wish to block
  • In Face­Time: Tap the ⓘ icon next to the phone num­ber or con­tact to be blocked
  • In Mes­sages: Open the con­ver­sa­tion with the per­son you wish to block and tap the ⓘ icon

Now, scroll to the bot­tom of the menu and choose “Block this Caller.

If you want to block a per­son you have not recently talked to, you can do so from the iOS Set­tings menu

  • For Phone: Go to Set­tings > Phone > Call Block­ing & Identificatio
  • For Face­Time: Go to Set­tings > Face­Time > Blocke
  • For Mes­sages: Go to Set­tings > Mes­sages > Blocke

From these menus, scroll to the bot­tom of the block list and tap “Add New.



Snapchat

In short: Ghost icon at top-​left > “My Friends” > Long press friend’s name > Gear icon at top-​right > “Block”

To start, open the SnapChat app up and press the "ghost" icon at the top-left. Next, tap "My Friends" at the bottom of the screen. Now scroll to the friend you want to block and tap their name. In the sub-window that pops up, tap the gear icon towards the top-right. Tap "Block" in this new sub-window. And finally tap "Yes" to confirm.

If the per­son you wish to block has just added you, you can block them in the same way from the “Added Me” screen. Tap their name, then the gear icon and then choose “Block.

If the per­son has only chat­ted you, you can swipe left on their name to open the chat win­dow, tap the blue-​bars icon at the top-​left of the screen, and then choose “Block” to pre­vent them from mes­sag­ing you in the future

Insta­gram

In short: Open pro­file of bloc­kee > Tap “three-​dot” icon at top-​right > Tap “Block

First, navigate to the profile page of the person you want to block. Tap the "three-dot" icon at the top-right. Next, tap "Block" from the popup menu. And finally, tap "Yes, I'm sure" to confirm.

The same process applies to Insta​gram​.com, though the “…” icon is located to the right of the person’s name and the “Fol­low­ing” menu



Face­book

Block the easy way: From a profile

The eas­i­est way to block a per­son on Face­book is to open their pro­file page and tap the “…” icon near the top-​right. In the menu that opens, tap “Block”.

In the mobile app and mobile Facebook.com website...
On the desktop Facebook website...

Block the sure way: From “Pri­vacy Shortcuts”

On its Help Cen­ter page, Face­book rec­om­mends block­ing using the “Pri­vacy Short­cuts” menu. This also works well If you are unable to view a person’s profile

Face​book​.com Website
First, click the circled "?" icon at the top-right of the page. Next, click "Privacy shortcuts", located towards the bottom of the just-opened menu. After clicking "Privacy shortcuts", a new menu will open. Here, click "How can I stop someone from bothering me?" at the bottom and type in the name of the person you want to block. And finally, in the resulting popup window, select "Block" next the name of the specific person you wish to block. (You can click their name to view their profile if it helps to confirm who is who.)
Mobile Face­book App
To block someone in the mobile app, start by tapping the "three-bar" icon at the top right to open the settings tab, and then scroll down to the bottom to find "Privacy Shortcuts". Tap it. Now, tap "How can I stop someone from bothering me?", enter their name in the field that appears, and tap "Block". You will then see a list of users matching the name you entered; you can tap their name to verify who is who, or tap "Block" to block them.
Mobile Face​book​.com Website
In the mobile website, first tap the "three-bar" icon at the top-right. Then scroll down, and tap on "Privacy Shortcuts" towards the bottom. Now, tap "How can I stop someone from bothering me?", enter their name in the field that appears, and tap "Block". You will then see a list of users matching the name you entered; you can tap their name to verify who is who, or tap "Block" to block them.


Twit­ter

Twit­ter makes block­ing effort­less. In either the mobile app or the browser appli­ca­tion, nav­i­gate to the pro­file (or any tweet) of the per­son you wish to block, tap the “∨” next to their name and tap “Block @ Person.”

Tap the "∨" symbol next to a person's name on any of their tweets. Select "Block @[Person's name]" from the menu that appears. Select "Block" to confirm.

Email

  • Gmail mobile app: Tap the “three-​dot” icon at the top-​right of any mes­sage (to the right of the sender’s name) and then choose “Block [Person’s Name]” from the menu that appears
  • Gmail​.com: Tap the “▼” at the top-​right of any mes­sage (to the right of the sender’s name) and then choose “Block ‘[Person’s Name]’” from the menu that appears
  • Inbox by Gmail: Inbox is still exper­i­men­tal and does not include a block fea­ture. Use Gmail itself to block senders
  • Microsoft Office Out­look: Right-​click a mes­sage from the per­son you want to block, hover over “Junk” and choose “Block Sender.
  • Out​look​.com: Open a mes­sage from the per­son you want to block. Click the “∨” next to the “Reply” but­ton, which is at the top-​right of the email. Now click “Delete all mes­sages from [Sender’s name].” In the menu that appears, choose “Delete all mes­sages from the Inbox folder and all future mes­sages.” Then click “Sweep.
  • iCloud: Log in to icloud​.com on any com­puter and click to open the “Mail” appli­ca­tion. Click the gear icon from the bottom-​left of the screen (in the side­bar), then click “Rules” in the pop-​up menu and then “Add a Rule.” Enter the person’s email address and choose “Delete” under “then.
  • Yahoo Mail: Click the gear icon. Then click “Set­tings,” then “Blocked Addresses” Enter the email address and click “Block.