Connection Removal

A person should be able to remove a connection without blocking or restricting them. Platforms should not notify the removed user about the disconnection.

How does this mitigate hate?

Users should be able to protect their privacy online from harassment, disagreements, or other negative experiences. Allowing users to remove connections without blocking or restricting them provides a subtle and effective way to create distance and protection.

(The bulk of this pattern comes from Designing Social Interfaces by Erin Malone and Christian Crumlish.)


When to use it?

Use this pattern to allow users to remove connections without escalating to using block or restrict features.

Use this pattern to manage unwanted relationships.

This pattern should provide an option for users to prevent the removed connection from viewing, commenting, liking or otherwise engaging with their content.

Use this pattern as an easy way to remove connections without embarrassing the user.

How to use it?

Allow the option for users to remove other users as connections.

Users should be able to remove connections that are other users/pages/groups.

The removed user should not be notified or allowed to know if they have been removed or who they were removed by.

Optionally, if a person disconnects with another, consider disallowing that connection from posting/commenting on the original person’s content.

This pattern should be presented to the user alongside options such as “Unfollow,” “Block,” “Mute,” or “Restrict.” Clearly explain and indicate the consequences of each action.

Provide the ability to block a person from any place in the interface.


This pattern provides a subtle way to disconnect from another user without drawing attention or embarrassing them. It also acts as an option for people to disconnect with others without having to escalate to blocking or restricting.


Because removing a connection is relatively low-stake compared to blocking, it might encourage less user-interaction and overall engagement.


LinkedIn allows users to easily remove connections

Twitter allows users to remove other users that follow them regardless of whether or not a reciprocal follow is in effect.


Crumlish, Christian, and Erin Malone. Designing Social Interfaces : Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience. 2nd ed. Sebastopol, Ca: O’Reilly Media, Inc., August, 2015.