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Thursday, October 20, 2011

There Are Ways Around the Facebook Block

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 7:30 AM


Hi Anna,

I get the impression that someone on Facebook who has me blocked, on occasion unblocks me, reads my posts, then blocks me again. I've been told by friends who are also on FB that some comments have been made by this person that suggests he has seen some of my posts. If he's blocked me, neither one of us are supposed to see each other's posts. And if he has me blocked, then I cannot block him. How can I stop this from happening?


You're right that if he blocked you, you would both be barred from directly interacting with each other, and that his name wouldn't come up in a search. But there are a few technical snags to joining this Block party.

Some likely culprits as to why this guy can see some of your posts, according to Facebook's Help page, are:

Recent Activity stories: There's a chance that you will see stories about the blocked person in mutual friends' Recent Activity. For example, if the blocked person tags a mutual friend in a photo, you might see this story on your friend's profile (timeline).

Photos: If the blocked person tagged you in any photos before the block, you'll still be able to see those photos. You might also see photos of the blocked person if they are tagged in another friend's album, but you won't be able to click on their name to see their profile (timeline).

Games and apps: Since games and apps are run by outside developers, the Facebook block won't apply to them. So you could see someone you blocked while you're playing a game (for example, in the game's chat room).

Other exceptions involve past messages and those you are both tagged in, events, and groups.

The good news is when you block and then unblock someone, they aren't automatically friends with you again. The blocker has to send you a new friend request in order to get back in your good graces. So I doubt your person is playing the Block Hokey Pokey, as it were.

If you're hell-bent on ridding this person from your digital life, you can try restricting your mutual friends' access to your posts and comments. You should also double check your privacy settings whenever you post something. I shared a link publicly last week on my profile, which then became the default setting for all posts, whereas before I always had it set to "friends only." Luckily, I don't care whether the world knows how excited I am about motherfucking decorative gourds.

As a last resort, you could also share less. I know. Who does that?


Shameless plug: Listen to me on the KFOG Morning Show a few days ago, talking about my embarrassing taste in music -- er, I mean, more on the new Facebook.

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at 

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @ExhibitionistSF or Facebook

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