Safer Online – Part 13

How to Protect Yourself on Popular Social Networks – Twitter

What are some of the main risks on Twitter?

  • Twitter is a hub for social and political activism, and sometimes, this can become overwhelming and distressing.
  • Due to Twitter’s diverse content, you may come across some explicit or triggering tweets from time-to-time.
  • Passionate arguments often break out over Twitter discussions, and users may be at risk of experiencing cyberbullying.
  • Like all social media, Twitter has the potential to become addictive and interfere with your everyday life.

Ways to protect yourself on Twitter

Make your tweets private:

When you set your Twitter profile and posts to private, they will only be visible to your followers. When someone new follows you, Twitter will send you a notification and you will be asked to approve their request, or deny it. However, accounts that followed you before you protected your tweets will still be able to view and interact with your profile unless you block them.

To protect your tweets, head to the Tweet privacy section in your privacy and safety settings and check the box next to ‘protect my tweets.’ Click the save button, enter your password to confirm, and you‘re done!

Additionally, you can make it so that people who have your contact details aren’t able to find you on Twitter unless you follow them first. From the privacy and safety settings page, uncheck both discoverability options.

Prevent Twitter posting your location information:

Every time you create a Tweet, you will be able to choose whether Twitter should post your location with it, or not. By default, Twitter won‘t share your location unless you have already opted in to the service.

Avoid cyberbullies:

Blocking someone on Twitter is similar to Facebook. From their profile, click the ‘see more’ icon (three vertical dots) and select ‘block’ from the menu. Then, click ‘block’ again to confirm. People you have blocked can’t follow or see your Twitter profile. Twitter won‘t send them a notification when you block them, but if they visit your profile, they will receive a message informing them that they have been blocked.

Avoid inappropriate content:

The best way to ensure that you avoid content you don‘t want to see on Twitter is to only follow people who are already your friends, and only view content on your main Twitter feed. Once you delve into Twitter‘s search feature or investigate hashtags, you leave yourself vulnerable to inappropriate content. By default, Twitter will show a warning before you view content it deems as not safe for work, but this isn‘t 100% accurate as some content can slip through Twitter‘s filter.

Take a break:

Account deactivation on Twitter is a more permanent solution, so if you need to step away for a short while, it’s better to log out. You could deactivate your account completely, but you face losing your profile and past tweets in the process.

Check in again next week for the next instalment: How to Protect Yourself on Popular Social Networks – Instagram