Social Privacy: It’s in Your Hands

Since the advent of social networks, there has been an uphill battle with ensuring users get the benefits of such networks, while maintaining their personal privacy. Social networks, such as Facebook, have received major media and public attention in regards to protecting it’s users personal privacy. In particular, Facebook has been known to “tweak” it’s website, which has inadvertently effected users who have kept private on the network for many years. In effect, users may believe I one point that their data is safe, and then a day comes by when their privacy settings have been reset our of no where. To ensure that your personal data remains private on social networks, users should review their privacy settings on a bi-monthly (or more) basis, to ensure settings have remained the same since day one. In this blog post, we will be discussing Twitter’s privacy settings, and what beginners should know before tweeting out that first tweet.

1. Locate the Privacy & Safety Tab

Unlike Facebook, Twitter makes it seamless to find the general settings of your account. With just 3 clicks, the Privacy & Safety tab can be found under the settings page. The settings page is available under the display picture located on the top right of the user interface.

Followed by clicking the settings button, the Privacy & Safety tab can be found on the left hand side of the user interface.

Finally, you now have access to the various privacy settings available by Twitter.

2. Choose which Settings apply to You

As a new user, one of the main privacy settings that should be considered is the “protect my tweets” setting. With this, a user can decide whether future tweets can only be seen by approved followers. I considered this setting to be the most important as some users may not want anyone beyond their current Twitter network, such as employers, family members, or even data bots, to collect and read future tweets.

With just one check mark, users can protect their tweets from preying eyes.

Followed by the above setting, another consideration can be made in regards to data collection for the purposes of advertising. For Twitter, this means collecting data based on recent web visits (using cookies), or analyzing tweets to discover product or service interests. For Twitter users, these forms of data collection can be easily configured under the privacy settings. Located mid way through the Privacy & Safety settings, it is as easy as ticking off both personalization & promoted content settings as found in the screenshot below.

Finally, depending on the user’s main use for the platform, one may not choose to have direct messages sent to them from users who are outside of their Twitter network. This may include advertising bots or spammers. Again, under the Privacy & Safety settings, users can turn off the direct message (or DM) from unknown users.

3. Stay Pro-Active in Maintaining your Privacy settings.

While many social networks promise to keep your data private, it is important to recheck, and double recheck your privacy settings on a rolling basis. You can never assume that your settings will remain the same within one day, and stay the same another day. A personal habit of mine is to mark off the first of the month on my calendar to check my privacy settings across mutiple social networks. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, it only takes a few minutes to ensure your personal data, as well as life, remains private from preying eyes.


While social networks continue to grow in the number of platforms and user base, privacy settings remain an important part of the entire social experience. Twitter is just one of many social networks that require the full attention of new users when it comes to privacy. Whether it is protecting tweets, filtering advertisers, or block potential spam messages, new Twitter users have access to an array of settings that they may not have paid attention to before. Overall, such settings should be constantly checked to ensure they have not been change to do platform upgrades or by “accidents” on behalf of the platform provider.

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