Last week we looked at the new look and features of the latest Viber version designed properly for iOS 7. Since the app now allows users to block contacts and their numbers, let's look into this feature with more details and see if we can discover who has blocked us on Viber.
The first stop is the Viber support document explaining how blocking works. Blocking means stopping a contact from contacting you using the app, either via messages, send content or with a voice call. This also works for you stopping you from contacting people you have blocked. For example, if you were to accidentally send a message to your boss or ex-girlfriend, the app wouldn't allow you.
Profile pictures will still refresh
Unlike other apps like WhatsApp, the way blocking is implemented on Viber means contacts can still see your status and your profile picture. As users change their tagline and upload a different picture, every user on the contact list will be able to see the changes.
On WhatsApp, profile pictures would not update at all if you were blocked by this person, making it a massive giveaway. This would be the first thing to do when you had to check for contacts that have blocked you. Bear in mind that comparing your Viber's contact pics with the ones on your friends' phone will be useless — they'll see the same thing as you do.
This decision comes with some implications. For our purposes, it allows people to safely block contacts without an obvious sign their account doesn't seem to be refreshing on your profile. On the other side, this should push users to consider the type of statuses they include and the suitability of uploading a new profile picture that everyone will be able to see!
Still showing up on groups
Reading though the Viber FAQs reveals other important limitations to consider dealing with blocked contacts. Even when you block someone on your device, there's the chance they can still contact you with Viber on a different platform (Desktop version, tablet, other smartphone). Also worth noting that blocked contacts can still add you to a group conversation and see the messages they are sending within that group… and the ones you send!
The fact a contact can message on a group but not directly to you, one to one on the version of the mobile app, can be a good place to start looking for contacts that have blocked you. The most straightforward method would be to have the suspicious person next to you and message directly to see if the phone vibrates with the new message notification. Then you could do the same with a group message and check if the result is any difference. This is something to do to learn how the blocking feature is working for you rather than with a real person, as I cannot imagine the type of awkward situation where you want to try this.
No delivery status
Viber promises that to protect user privacy, there is no way to find out if a contact has blocked you or not. The way the system has been designed doesn't give many options to check, other than comparing activity in Group chats and individual conversations mentioned above.
Don't bother to look at the delivery status for each message, waiting for the double check mark that confirm the message is delivered — the current version doesn't display this on the chat window. If you see a suspicious contact receiving messages on a group chat but not getting your individual messages delivered, that could mean this person has blocked you.
Top image by Michael Coghlan