Spotify is not only a music streaming service, it’s a half-baked social network. You can follow people on Spotify, see what they’re listening to, check out their playlists… and, sadly, use the service to intimidate and harass people. Until recently, there was no means to even block a follower on Spotify, giving abusers free rein to harass their victims. Thankfully, and after good work from campaigners, that’s now changed.
First, let’s deal with how to block a follower on Spotify and then we’ll explain why it was a problem that you couldn’t previously.
How to block a follower on Spotify
Here’s how to block a follower using Spotify’s smartphone app.
- From the main screen, click on the little settings cog in the top-right corner and click the ‘view profile’ link on your own profile
- Click ‘Followers’, which should appear just beneath your profile photo
- Choose the follower you wish to block
- Click the three dots in the top-right corner of that follower’s profile page
- Select ‘Block’
What does blocking a Spotify follower mean?
According to Spotify’s support page, a blocked user “cannot access your page, public playlists or view your listening activity”.
If you’ve accidentally blocked a follower or you decide to unblock someone, you can follow the steps above and just select ‘unblock’ in step 5.
Why was it necessary to add a blocking function?
Spotify was basically allowing abusers to torment their victims. Spotify’s forums had many complaints from women who were still being followed by violent ex-partners, for example, and could do nothing about it.
When I wrote about Spotify’s failure to implement blocking controls for Forbes in the summer, one stalking victim wrote to me to reveal how her abuser had used the editable photos and descriptions on public playlists to torment her.
As privacy campaigner Heather Burns told me in the summer, Spotify was in breach of European data laws by making profiles and listening sessions public by default, not to mention behaving unethically by failing to provide a user-accessible means of blocking unwanted followers. Spotify did protest that users could contact customer services if they wanted a follower permanently blocked, but that option was by no means obvious and it’s good to see the company has finally relented.