This post provides instructions on how to block and mute on social media in 2021 so you can get out of negative conversations and look after yourself online.

how to block and mute on social media in 2021

Graphic showing different social icons on a mobile device.

It’s impossible to avoid everything. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself on social media from hurtful messages that may be triggering. The first of those is blocking, and that’s what I’ll be covering in this post.

I’ve broken this guide down by platform and looked at both desktop and mobile versions. If there’s also an option to mute certain keywords that may be triggering that’s also included. Platforms that do are marked with an (M).

Platforms Covered In This Guide

Facebook

Restricting

If you don’t want to go all out and block someone, the restricting feature comes in handy. People on this list can’t see anything that’s not public, but you’ll still be friends on Facebook. This feature can only be used on existing friends.

To restrict someone on Facebook you can follow these steps listed in their help centre.

  1. On their profile click the friend icon
  2. Select “Edit friend list”
  3. Select “Restricted”

When testing the above the restricted option wasn’t available for me on mobile or desktop. If that’s also the case for you here are some workaround steps.

  1. Click the right-hand dropdown on desktop or the 3 bars in the bottom menu on mobile and open “Settings & Privacy”
  2. Select Settings > Blocking
  3. Select “Edit List” next to the first tab titled “Restricted List”
  4. Click the “On this list” tab in the top right and select “Friends”
  5. Click on the friend you want to add to this list
  6. Press “Finish”

Blocking

Below is the easiest way I follow to block people on Facebook. You can also block people by searching their names in the blocking part of settings outlined in the above menu.

  1. Head on over to the account you wish to block
  2. Select the 3 dots to the right of the profile
  3. Confirm you want to block the person

Unblocking

  1. Open your list of blocked accounts (settings & privacy > settings > blocking) here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking
  2. Click “unblock” next to the name of the person blocked

This menu also lets you control other things that are blocked like pages and people on Messenger.

If you unblock someone, you won’t be able to block them again for 48 hours.

Muting

Some guides refer to a mute feature on Facebook, like this one from the Independent dated around summer 2018. Unfortunately, it would appear this feature has since been removed.

Just a final point on Facebook it’s worth going through all privacy settings to make sure they are exactly what you want. 

In research for this blog, I found a few of my own settings making things more public than I’d like. 

This may be something that I write about in more detail if that would be useful. Let me know in the comments.

Messenger

There are several ways to block people on Messenger depending on where you have your chat open. Additionally blocking someone on Facebook will also block them on Messenger. 

Blocking via Facebook Chat

  1. Open the chat of the user you want to block
  2. Select the “Privacy and Safety” tab from the right
  3. Click “Block”
  4. Select “Block Messages and Calls” which will just block on Messenger or “Block on Facebook” to unfriend and block across Facebook

Blocking via Messenger App

  1. To block someone on Messenger first open the chat
  2. Then tap their profile in the top left
  3. Select “Block”
  4. Choose whether to block on Facebook or Messenger

To unblock someone via the desktop app select the 3 dots in the top right corner and click “Block on Messenger” or “Block on Facebook.”

Unblocking

To unblock someone on Messenger search for the chat and click “Unblock” at the bottom on both desktop and mobile. 

If you have deleted the chat you can view your blocked list following the below.

  1. Tap your profile in the top right corner
  2. Tap “Privacy”
  3. Tap “Blocked Accounts”
  4. Tap the account you want to unblock

Instagram

Restricting

Restricting someone on Instagram means you’ll stay following them and them following you but they won’t be able to see if you’ve read their messages, are online. Their comments on your posts are also hidden from others viewing your post, unless you manually approve them.

Unlike Facebook, you do not have to be friends (i.e. following) someone to restrict them.

There are quite a few ways to restrict accounts you can see here but you can do this by tapping “Restrict” on the menu shown by following the steps below.

Blocking

To block someone on Instagram you’ll want to head to their profile on either mobile or desktop. 

  1. Tap the 3 dots on the profile of the person you want to block
  2. Tap “Block”

Unblocking

To unblock someone on Instagram you’ll need to go into your settings. 

  1. Press the hamburger (3 lines) menu at the top of your profile
  2. Open Settings
  3. Privacy > Blocked Accounts
  4. Tap the blue “Unblock” button

You can follow the same process above to unrestrict accounts by instead selecting “Restricted accounts”  from the privacy menu. 

Muting

Instagram announced a new mute feature back in 2018 but much like Facebook’s this has also been removed. Instead we have the new “restrict” option outlined above which is your best substitute. 

LinkedIn

Blocking

  1. Tap the 3 dots next to the profile
  2. Followed by “Report or Block”
  3. Select the first option to block the user

Once blocked they may still be able to view your public data, but they won’t be able to interact with you from that account. You can check your privacy settings here.

Unblocking

  1. To unblock someone on LinkedIn click your profile at the top right
  2. Click Settings and Privacy
  3. Open “Visibility” from the left menu
  4. Scroll down and click “Blocking”
  5. Tap unblock next to the name of the blocked user

Muting

LinkedIn gives you a couple of options for muting which can be accessed by clicking the 3 dots to the right of the post in your feed. 

Firstly you can “unfollow” users which means you’ll stay connected but you won’t see their content. 

You can also select “I don’t want to see this post” selecting a reason from the menu that appears and that content won’t show in your feed again whether that’s the specific post or topic.

Pinterest

While you can’t have a private account on Pinterest you can make boards “secret” by opening your board settings and tapping the “make secret” button by following the steps below.

  1. Go to your profile and scroll to the board you want to make secret
  2. Click edit (pencil icon) in the bottom left corner
  3. Scroll down and tick “Keep this board secret”
  4. Click “Done”

Blocking

  1. Visit the profile of the user you want to block
  2. Open the 3 dot menu to the left just above their pins (on mobile this is to the right)
  3. Click “Block”

Unblocking

  1. Visit the profile of the user you want to unblock
  2. Click “Utnblock”

Reddit

Desktop Blocking 

To block users on Reddit you can either do so from your messages, chats, or via settings. You can only block people you haven’t interacted with on desktop via Settings.

To block by messages:

  1. Open “Messages” by clicking the icon in the top bar or the following link logged-in (https://www.reddit.com/message/inbox)
  2. Select “Block User” from under the notification in that list

You can also block people by opening chats, the icon in the next to messages in the top menu. 

  1. Select the chat you want to block
  2. Click the settings icon next to their name 
  3. Click “Block”

To block users you haven’t yet interacted with follow the steps below.

  1. Open your “User Settings” by clicking your profile (top right) followed by “User Settings”
  2. Select the “Safety & Privacy” tab from the submenu
  3. Enter the username of the user in the “Block New User” box and click “Add”

Mobile Blocking

You can block any user via the Reddit app even if you haven’t previously interacted with them.

  1. Tap the username of the individual you want to block
  2. Tap the icon at the top right of the top up window
  3. Tap “Block” to confirm

Snapchat

Blocking

  1. To block someone on Snapchat tap their name on your chat list
  2. Tap the 3 dots to the right
  3. Followed by the red “Block” button

Unblocking

  1. Tap your profile on the chat screen
  2. Open settings with the gear icon (top right)
  3. Scroll all the way down to “Blocked”
  4. Press the x next to accounts you’ve blocked

TikTok

Blocking

  1. To block someone on Tiktok first open their profile
  2. Tap the 3 dots to the right
  3. Tap “Block”

Unblocking

  1. To unblock someone on TikTok tap “Me” on the bottom menu
  2. Press the 3 dots at the right
  3. Privacy > Blocked Accounts

Tumblr

Blocking

  1. To block someone on Tumblr hover your mouse over their name in the feed (you can also open their profile into the right pane)
  2. Click the 3 dots to the top of their profile
  3. Select “Block” from the menu that appears

Unblocking

  1. To unblock someone on Tumblr click your profile (top right)
  2. Open Settings
  3. Select your blog from the right navigation
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and click the pencil icon in the “Blocking” row
  5. Click “Unblock”

Muting

It’s possible to mute both tags and specific words in a post to avoid them showing up in your feed.

  1. Click your profile in the top right
  2. Open Settings
  3. Scroll down under “Account” to the filtering tab
  4. Here you’ll have two options to add both tags and words (post content) you don’t want to see

Twitter

Blocking

  1. To block someone on Twitter first head to the profile you want to block
  2. Tap the 3 dots to the top of the profile
  3. Tap “Block”

There is also a setting that allows blocked/muted content to show up in your feed. You’ll want to make sure this is off to ensure you don’t see the accounts you’ve blocked by following the steps below.

  1. Head into Settings and Privacy from the menu
  2. Go to Privacy and Safety  > Content You See
  3. Click search settings
  4. Make sure the box to “Remove blocked and muted accounts” is ticked

Unblocking

  1. Head to the profile of the user who’s blocked (you’ll have to search their full handle as they won’t show up)
  2. Click the red “Blocked” button
  3. Confirm you want to unblock the user

You can also unblock users by heading to your blocked list from “Privacy and Safety” mentioned above.

  1. Once there, click “Mute and Block” 
  2. Tap “Blocked accounts”
  3. Click the red “Blocked” button next to the profile

Muting

To mute words on Twitter access your settings from the left navigation on desktop or on mobile. 

  1. Once there click Privacy and Safety
  2. Followed by “Mute and Block” from the right navigation
  3. Click “Muted Words” followed by the blue plus in the top right corner
  4. Once there type the word or phrase you want to mute
  5. You also get the option to automatically unmute this after a certain length of time or still see posts from those you follow that include this word
  6. Click “Save”

WhatsApp

Blocking

  1. To block someone on WhatsApp first open the chat with them
  2. Tap their name at the top
  3. Scroll down to the bottom tap “Block Contact”

You can also block someone on WhatsApp without opening the chat by following the steps below.

  1. Open Privacy > Blocked
  2. You’ll see a list of all who are blocked and an “Add New…” button
  3. Search for the contact you want to block

Unblocking

  1. Open the Privacy > Blocked menu as above
  2. Scroll down to the end of their profile
  3. Tap “Unblock Contact” 

YouTube

Blocking

  1. Go to the channel of the user you want to block
  2. Click the “About” tab on their channel
  3. Clicking the flag and selecting “Block user” 

Unblocking

  1. Search for the user you want to unblock
  2. Click the flag icon under “About”
  3. Click “Unblock”

Will they know I’ve blocked them?

None of the social media sites covered here send a notification to the user that you are blocking, except a special case with LinkedIn recruiter accounts.

However, there are a few things that people could notice to tell they’ve been blocked:

1. They try and message you and get a notification it hasn’t gone through. This could be like Snapchat’s “your message will be pending until xyz adds you as a friend” or WhatsApp’s one grey tick.

2. They see a change to their following/follower count and notice you’re missing

3. They try and access your profile and are either given a message that you’re blocked (like Twitter) or implied like Facebook’s “content isn’t available at the moment.”

Social media should be a place you enjoy and feel safe (obviously to the extent you can). Because of this, I’d urge you to block anyone/content that upsets you. This isn’t something to feel bad for, making those strong decisions for yourself is an act of self-care.

Final Words

Writing this blog highlighted how it wasn’t always obvious to block people, and I had to refer to the help pages in some cases, just to make sure I got the steps right. 

The reason I wrote it was really to show you this is okay. And while this relates to social media there’s a much broader point here about walking away from negative people in your life. I get that’s not always possible, but where it is, it may be hard to do, but ultimately you have to love yourself. And that means looking after yourself and making sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who matter and whose company you actually enjoy.

By Jake Symons

Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others. Alongside writing on this blog he hosts Mental Monday: Mental Health Live a biweekly intimate and unscripted conversation about mental health.

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