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Twitter Safety Factsheet

Tips for staying safe on Twitter


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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When confronted with abusive or concerning behaviour on Twitter, regardless of who the target is, be it you or others, you should report to Twitter. The following are tips for dealing with issues on Twitter.

Unfollow or blocking someone

To unfollow an account on Twitter, simply click on that account’s profile icon, then click the “following” icon. It should turn red and say, “unfollow”. Tap the key and you’re free.

Screenshot of the twitter unfollow button


If you want to block someone from appearing in your timeline and contacting you, click on the tab beside the follow/unfollow button and see the options in the dropdown menu.

Screenshot of the twitter block feature

You'll be given the option to simply block the user and to learn more about what blocking does.

Screenshot of the block spunout feature

 

When you block someone they can no longer:

  • Follow you 
  • Send you direct messages 
  • View your Tweets, following or followers lists, photos, videos, lists or favorites when logged in
  • Add your Twitter account to their lists
  • Tag you in a photo 

IMPORTANT: If your Tweets are public (i.e., not protected), they will still be visible on your public profile page to anyone, regardless of whether they have a Twitter account or not. Twitter doesn't let someone know that you've blocked them but, because they can't follow you any more, they may notice you have blocked them. Get the full details from Twitter HQ here.

Protecting your tweets

Protecting your tweets means that everything you post on Twitter will be private, and only your approved followers will be able to view it. 

  • Step 1: Click on your profile picture on the top right corner of the screen and select Settings from the drop down menu
  • Step 2: Select Security and Privacy from the menu on the left
  • Step 3: Beside Tweet Privacy, tick the box that says 'Protect my Tweets'
  • Step 4: Select 'Save Changes' at the bottom of the page

Screenshot of how to protect your tweets on twitter

In this menu you can also look at changing your settings in relation to: 

  • Login verification being sent to your mobile and code verification (to make sure your account is super secure) 
  • You can change whether or not you allow people to tag you in photos 
  • You can change your location settings and delete all past location information from past tweets 

 While with a protected account you have control over those who follow you, bear in mind that people can still screen shot those tweets.

Filing a report

If you think the user you've blocked or if someone you haven't blocked needs to be reported for their behaviour then click the optional 'report' box. 

You'll be asked to provide some further details to help Twitter understand why you've reported this account or user. 

Screenshot on how to report a page on twitter

Why you may want to report a user or an account?

You have the power to block users but sometimes you may feel that you may want to take more action. The areas that Twitter will take action on include: 

  • Using someones trademark or copyrighted materials 
  • Sale of counterfit goods 
  • If someone is using Twitter who is under 13 
  • Child exploitation 
  • Pornography 
  • Impersonation 
  • Private information being posted about a user 
  • Abuse, bullying and violent threats 
  • Spam 
  • Some other areas you can find out more about here

Reporting an abusive user

Go to the user's profile, click the settings wheel or three dots on mobile (as above). Select report user, you'll be guided through the process where you can tell Twitter more about what has been going on. 

If someone is being abusive to you, it can be a good idea to reach out online or offline to a trusted friend or adult. If you have witnessed somone being abused, reach out to them to check in to see if they're ok if it's appropriate. 

Who can tag me in photos on Twitter?

On Twitter you can post up to four pictures with each tweet and tag up to 10 people in each photo so it's important to be aware of how to control who tags you. In your account settings, under the tab 'Security and Privacy' you can choose whether or not to allow Twitter users or followers to tag you in photos.
Screenshot for photo privacy settings on twitter

Mute Users

Twitter also allows you to 'mute' profiles you follow so you don't have to see their tweets. This is handy as you don't have to unfollow a user and you can still see notifications and '@' mentions from the user, you can just avoid them in your timeline. Muted users can still follow and DM you as muting doesn't block them (see above). 
Screenshot of how to mute on twitter

Mute a word, phrase or hashtag

A screenshot of the Twitter mute screen.

Twitter now offers users the choice of muting words, phrases or hashtags from their notifications. This is very handy in case someone might be sending you tweets containing words, phrases or hashtags which you do not want to see from anonymous accounts. 

For Desktop Users

When using Twitter on a desktop computer or laptop, you need to click on your profile picture on the upper right and then click 'settings' from the drop down menu. Next you can click 'Muted words' on left menu bar. Then you can type in any phrase or word you would like and tweets containing those words or phrases will not appear in your timeline or mentions. 

For Mobile Users

On the Twitter mobile app, simply go into your notifications feed. Click on the gear icon in the upper left, and select 'muted words'.  From there you can add whichever words or phrases you would like.

Child sexual exploitation

If you see a twitter account violating that principle, take the following actions:

  • First, do not re-tweet or respond to any child sexual exploitation tweet
  • Fill out this form to report the content to Twitter
  • You may can also report any child sexual exploitation material you come across to the Gardai and/or Hotline.ie. You can report child sexual absue material, grooming and other concerning content here too.

Last but not least, take the following safety precautions to protect yourself and make Twitter a positive platform for sharing:

  • Think before you tweet: remember that twitter is an open platform and what you say can have a ripple effect. Negative posts can harm others physiologically or even lead to physical harm. Therefore, be a responsible tweeter.
  • Pick a strong and distinctive password to safeguard your account’s security.
  • Be alert to any abusive behaviour on Twitter and help banish it!

 

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Published November 7th, 2013
Last updated February 3rd, 2017
Tags twitter safety social media
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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