Safety Center glossary

Below are a few Twitter glossary terms relating to safety and abuse. If you don't see what you're looking for here, for more terms check out our full Twitter Glossary.


An Application Programming Interface. Contains all Twitter data and is used to build applications that access Twitter much like our website does. Read more about API security.


The personal image uploaded to your Twitter profile in the Settings tab of your account. 


To block someone on Twitter means they will be unable to follow you or add you to their lists. We will not deliver their mentions to your mentions tab. Find out how to block others.

Hacked / Hacking

Gaining unauthorized access to an account via phishing, password guessing, or session stealing. Usually this is followed by unauthorized posts from the account. Click here if you've been hacked, or, read more about how to keep your account safe.


Pretending to be someone that you are not. Impersonation that is intended to deceive is prohibited under the Twitter Rules. However, parody accounts are allowed. You can read more about Twitter's Impersonation policy here.

Name Squatting

Creating accounts for the purpose of preventing others from using those account names or  for the purpose of selling those accounts. You can read more about Twitter's name squatting policy here.


Twitter users are allowed to create parody Twitter accounts, as well as commentary and fan accounts. You can also read more on our Parody Guidelines page.


Tricking a user to give up their username and password. This can happen by sending the user to a fake login page, a page promising to get you more followers, or just simply asking for the username and password via a DM or email. Click here if your account has been phished.

Protected Tweets

Twitter accounts are public by default. Choosing to protect your Tweets means that your Tweets will only be seen by approved followers and will not appear in search. You can also read more about the differences on our public and protected Tweets page. 

Session Stealing

The exploitation of a valid computer session in order to gain unauthorized access to information or services in a computer system.


Describes a variety of prohibited behaviors which violate the Twitter Rules. It includes things like unwanted messaging or aggressive following on Twitter. We work hard to eliminate it. You can also read our reporting spam on Twitter page for more information.


To stop following another Twitter user. Their Tweets no longer show up in your home timeline. Learn how to unfollow here.