Twitter is a communications platform that brings you closer to the things you care about. At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long. You can also get links, see photos, videos, news stories and participate in conversations all directly in Tweets. To learn more, please visit the Twitter Basics help page.
Twitter is a fun way to connect with what is interesting to you. However, it’s worth considering some of the possible safety issues that could come up. Here are some tips to help you have a positive experience.
What you can do:
Information you post on Twitter is public, so your Tweets can be read by someone you didn’t intend, or made available or shared on other websites. Even though you can delete a Tweet as soon as it’s posted, someone else could save or share it before you delete it.
You can protect your Tweets so only approved followers can view them. To learn more about public and protected accounts, check out this article: Public and Protected Accounts on Twitter. Even if your Tweets are set to protected, be mindful of who you authorize to view your account.
Remember that once you've posted something on the Internet, it's highly unlikely you can delete it/remove it before someone else sees it. Ask yourself, “Would you say the same thing offline in front of your parents, teachers, principal, or potential employer?” If the answer is “no,” consider whether or not you should Tweet it.
If you share your account username and password with someone else, that person could post Tweets pretending to be you, or change the password and email on your account and lock you out. Pick a strong password and don’t share it with anyone. The same goes for your email and other online accounts.
Avoid getting into fights or confrontations with others online. Remember that others are entitled to their opinions, just as you are entitled to yours. If you don't agree with someone, it's fine to discuss the disagreement—but once it's clear that the situation has escalated, arguing further most likely won't make the other person change his or her mind.
Don’t feed the trolls and don’t be a troll. If someone posts something about you that you do not like, consider asking them to take it down. Likewise, if you post a photo or information about someone else and they ask you to remove it, respect their privacy and retain their trust by taking it down. Read this Twitter Support article to learn how to delete a Tweet.
Regardless of how positive your online experience is, remember that there is a world outside of your computer. While Twitter brings you closer to what is important to you, your online activities should enhance your offline life, not replace it.
If you are receiving offensive Tweets, we've found that the most successful response is to simply block the user or ignore the comments. If you don’t engage the bully, they often lose interest and stop harassing you. This Twitter support article shows how to block other users.
If you're being bullied online as a continuation of bullying you're experiencing offline, please talk to a trusted adult or report the bullying to the appropriate authorities. If you're not sure who to talk to, Stop Bullying is a website you may find helpful.
Sometimes online relationships or interactions can affect you offline. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe as a result of something that happened online, it's important you take steps to address your feelings. Consider the following possibilities.
When dealing with negative or hurtful interactions, it can help to turn to siblings, parents, teachers or other people you trust for support and advice. Oftentimes, talking it out with your parents or a close friend may help you figure out how you want to handle the situation or let you express your feelings so you can move on.
However, we also recognize that options may be limited. If you don’t have someone to talk to about what is happening online, there are many online resources that may help:
After reviewing our policies, if you believe an account is violating our rules, you or your child can file a report.
Twitter only removes profiles that are in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service. Please remember Twitter is a communications platform rather than a content provider and we do not mediate disputes between users.
When dealing with someone who is breaking rules, threatening or otherwise harassing you, talk to someone who can help you evaluate the situation to determine what your options are. This could be a teacher or administrator at school, a parent, an older sibling or other family member. This could also be law enforcement or a lawyer.