Privacy and Safe Tweeting
Learning about and controlling your settings are key to protecting your information. Below are some articles that explain the various dimensions of account security:
Think before You Tweet
Whether you’re an occasional or frequent Twitter user, you should consider these questions when deciding on your privacy settings:
Why are you using Twitter?
Most of the communication taking place on Twitter is visible to everyone. Since the information posted on Twitter is public, it can be shared by anyone who sees it. While accounts can be protected so only approved followers can view them, most accounts are public. If you want your Tweets to only be available to approved followers, you should protect your Tweets.
Where do you draw the line between public and private?
What counts as “public” or “private” information varies from person to person. Certainly, users should not publicly share data like social security numbers, passwords, or addresses. When in doubt, consider how much information you should share on Twitter by asking yourself the following questions:
- With whom am I sharing this information?
- How much and what type of information am I sharing?
- How many people can see the information I am sharing?
- Are the people who see this information trustworthy?
What are your digital traces?
When giving thought to your privacy level, remember that each post is a footprint on your digital trail. Fortunately, raising your privacy settings can do much to remove this trail from the public eye. Other than shielding your content, these settings allow you to tailor your discoverability, geotagging, visibility among friends or followers, and various forms of tracking.
Report a Privacy Violation
If someone has posted your personal information (e.g. a private phone number, a home address, or credit card information) and you would like it to be removed, please review our policy about private information posted on Twitter. If the account is violating our policy, file a report and we will investigate. If the reported account is in violation, we will temporarily suspend the account until the information is removed.
Consider the Context
When you see an upsetting Tweet, take pause and consider the broader conversation to which it may be connected. Tweets are short. Since they allow only 140 characters for an author to convey a message, its meaning may at times be lost or distorted. Whenever you’re confused or concerned about a specific Tweet, respond with an @reply. This will prompt the author and other users to shed light on the context of the conversation. If you’d prefer to communicate privately, send a Direct Message. Understanding the context of any conversation can often lead to healthy dialogue, or at minimum defuse a conflict.
Remember that everyone on Twitter is entitled to an opinion, just as you are entitled to yours. If you disagree with someone, it's perfectly reasonable to join in healthy debate. If a debate escalates into a quarrel, however, it’s best to disengage altogether. In short, don’t provoke a troll or be one yourself. If someone posts something about you that you dislike, consider asking them to remove it. Likewise, if you post content 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.
Ignore and Block
In some circumstances, simply understanding context or putting a stop to an argument doesn’t defuse a conflict. If a negative or confusing interaction persists, you may consider unfollowing or blocking someone.
Abusive users often lose interest once they realize that you will not respond. If the user in question is a friend, try addressing the issue offline. If you have had a misunderstanding, it may be possible to clear the matter up face to face or with the help of a trusted adult.
Harassment and Bullying
Online abuse is no less real than any other kind of abuse. When facing online abuse, take it seriously. It can be tempting to retaliate against an abuser with hurtful words, but that’s usually the reaction they want. Thus, when dealing with negative or hurtful interactions, it can help to turn to family and friends for support and advice. Often, talking with relatives or a close friend may help you determine how to handle a situation or let you express your feelings in order to heal.
Giving and Receiving Help
Whatever the circumstance, it’s never easy to be the target of online abuse. If you know someone affected by such abuse, don’t turn a blind eye. Anyone in a position to lend a kind word or even advise a target can put a stop to abuse by directing attention away from the abuser. Tempting though it may be, you shouldn’t retaliate against the abuser, since you’d be giving the attention they’re inappropriately seeking.
When talking with your friend or loved one, seek first to understand how he or she is feeling. Online abuse is just as real as abuse offline; so are the emotions it provokes. If a friend or a loved one asks for help in handling an online abusive situation, listen to his or her concerns and take them seriously. Although you may be in a position to assist, the situation may be such that it warrants seeking professional consultation offline—be it a counselor, therapist, lawyer, law enforcement, or another trusted individual.
When Matters have Gone Too Far
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:
Talk it Out
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. Often, 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.
You may also want to reach out to organizations that specialize in managing online safety issues, such as bullying, harassment, and privacy violations. For more resources, consider reaching out to our Trusted Resources.
Report a Violation
Get to know the Twitter Rules. If you believe an account is violating our rules, you can file a report.
Twitter only removes profiles that are in violation of the Twitter Rules. Please remember Twitter is a social broadcast network rather than a content provider and we do not mediate disputes between users.