Protect yo’Tweets — A Hack for Twitter Users
What exactly is Twitter? Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2006, Twitter is “the place to find out about what’s happening in the world right now.” This social media platform gained insane popularity in 2012 and has since, become a major medium for expressing your opinion, venting about your mom grounding you, uploading and sharing media files and opening yourself up to (if you choose to) millions of strangers. It’s safe to say that in 140 characters — the maximum length of a tweet — you can trigger an amazing amount of emotions from those who follow you.
As cool as Twitter may seem, there are a lot of cons about sharing your beliefs and values with the world and it’s simple — not everyone is going to agree with you. Cue the chaos!
In this Youtube video to your left, we see that a man was arrested after a Criminal Complaint was filed in connection to a tweet about killing President Donald Trump which led to him being interrogated by the Secret Service, issuing an apology and deleting the tweet. Obviously, the purpose of his tweet was to voice an opinion but due to his public Twitter profile, this led to some very sticky consequences. Not that tweeting about assassinating a sitting President is right — it definitely is not — just as this man’s tweet made him vulnerable to public view and complaints, so can your tweets.
Luckily, Twitter has several ways in which you can protect yourself and your tweets from this very open, public display. On registering for a Twitter account, there are several options open for the user to apply to their account to remain ‘private.’ Let me try to break it down simply:
- Password: Twitter password requirements are not very complicated but, in fact, very basic. It requires you to use a minimum of 6 characters to form your password but does not require it to be a mixture of upper characters, lower characters, symbols or numbers. Just a tip → Mixing all these characters together will result in a stronger password with a less likelihood of being hacked or having your crazy ex-boyfriend guess your password!
- Tweet privacy or a Private Twitter: This is a more commonly used option for many Twitter users. This option allows you to toggle between having a public Twitter account or a private — with this, only your followers from which you get requests and are able to accept or deny, will see your content. This provides for the most private Twitter a user could have since it immediately removes you and your posts from public viewing and scrutiny.
- Tweet location: This option allows the ability for each tweet you send out, to be geo-tagged. This means that your followers will be able to pinpoint your exact location with each tweet you send out if you set to ON. Clearly, there are dangers to having your location being tracked in the background of any app you use but on Twitter, especially with a public profile, this can heighten your risk of being stalked or just be an invasion of privacy.
- Photo tagging: This tool allows the user to choose whether you would like for other Twitter accounts to tag you in photos. There are 3 options: anyone can tag you, only the people you follow can tag you or no one can tag you.
- Discoverability: Twitter gives users the option to decide if and how they would like to be found on the site. Users can allows others to find their account by email or by phone number. They note that the email and phone number will not be made public and that only users who give your information can find you.
- Direct Messages: More commonly known as ‘DMs’, is the option of private messaging on Twitter. Users can decide whether they would like to receive messages from anyone (ie. Anyone with a twitter account regardless of if you follow them or they follow you).
- Blocking & Muted Tweets/Users: In my opinion, this is the holy grail of all Twitter privacy options. Blocking a user ultimately removes that account of showing up on your timeline, following you and viewing your profile while they are logged into their account. So if you get random tweets asking for you to “ClIck oN tHis LiNk 4 moRE piCZ”, you can simply hit that block button and dust away those troubles. Equally, if you have a blabbermouth best friend, who tweets about getting her coffee in the morning, then tweets a photo of it at Starbucks, then another of it going in the trash can, then you can mute that person’s uploads from your timeline as well — because let’s be real here — nobody cares.
As you can see, Twitter does have its downfalls with its very public nature but it does give you the option to narrow your audience down, in a way that you know if you tweet that embarrassing video if you nose diving into your floor, only those people you accept to follow you can view it. Even so, all users should keep in mind that, there is no such thing as “deleting something off the internet.” Once it’s there, oh, it’s there to stay. With the advances in screenshots, screen recording and nifty privacy-eliminators as such, all users should tweet responsibly because no matter how much you may want to privatize yourself, there is always someone who knows a way around it.
See you next week!