While Twitter is a fun place to hang out, it has associated risks just like any other social network. As examples of the risks involved with Twitter, there are phishing scams, government security lapses, and people getting fired because of tweeting.
Here are 10 solid Twitter safety tips you can make use of to enjoy Twitter and protect yourself.
#1: Never Share Personal Information
This has to be the first and foremost guideline and cannot be stressed enough. Never share your email, personal or business address, telephone numbers, etc. on Twitter unless you are absolutely sure what you are doing.
Geotagging is an optional Twitter feature that makes your exact location public. If you do not wish to automatically broadcast your physical location, make sure that the setting is disabled in your Twitter settings.
#2: Review Applications That Use Your Twitter Account
Avoid web-based applications that ask you to supply your Twitter username and password. Well behaved applications use Twitter OAuth and do not ask you to provide your Twitter password.
Regularly review the list of applications you have authorized to access your Twitter account via the Twitter Settings Connections page. Remove all applications from that list that you no longer need or use.
#3: Regularly Change Your Password
Automated bots are used by hackers to gain access to your Twitter account. Use strong passwords and keep changing your password every 4-6 weeks to ensure maximum safety. You can use these 5 Free Password Generators for Nearly Unhackable Passwords or Create Strong Passwords That You Can Remember Easily.
#4: Preview Short URL’s Before Clicking
Shortened URLs are often used to hide unsafe web addresses. Clicking and visiting unsafe websites leads to dangers of malware, phishing websites, etc. When using Twitter clients like TweetDeck, turn on the “Show Preview Information for Short URLs” option. If you are using Firefox, you can use extensions like LongURL Mobile Expander or . Another option is to use bookmarklets and scripts like Unhid and Untiny.
#5: Beware Of Unsolicited DMs
Phishing attacks often use Direct Messages to lure unsuspecting users to a login page where they are asked to provide their username and password. The problem is that you may receive such a DM from a trustworthy user you are following, whose account has been compromised. Hence, there is no foolproof way to ascertain whether a DM is authentic or suspicious.
You should use your judgment and discretion while clicking URL’s in DMs. If there is any reason to suspect that the DM is strange or weird in any way, simply delete it and let the user know. Follow the Twitter Spam account for regular updates and information on Twitter scams.
#6: Use Private Twitter Accounts
If you are using Twitter to communicate among a chosen group of friends, colleagues, or family, consider making your Twitter feed private. This can also be a recommended option for youngsters on Twitter. To make an account private, go to your Twitter Settings, and select the “Protect my tweets“ option.
#7: Block & Report Spam
If you receive spam via @replies, block and report the account as spam. Many Twitter clients let you do that from within their interface. You can follow the Twitter Spam account and send a direct message with the name of the account to report a spammer. Manage your followers and friends as discussed in 12 Solid Tips to Enhance Your Twitter Reputation to reduce your spam.
#8: Avoid Account Suspension By Respecting Twitter Limits
Ensure that you adhere to Twitter’s Best Practices for Following Limits. These are especially important when using automated tools to tweet or follow/unfollow users. Violating follow limit rules may lead to suspension of your Twitter account. The key limits to be aware of are:
- Limit of maximum 1000 tweets and 250 DMs per day.
- Aggressively following or unfollowing hundreds of users within a day can lead to account suspension.
- You need sufficient followers before you can follow more than 2000 users.
Do not use any service or application that promises to get you “hundreds of followers quickly”. These are guaranteed ways of making your Twitter account suspicious and lead to your account being suspended.
#9: Avoid Being Impersonated
Twitter permits impersonation only for parody. Even if you don’t use Twitter at all, someone else may be using your name to impersonate you on Twitter. This can lead to grave reputation problems for your business, professional and personal life.
If you come across any Twitter account impersonating you in an illegitimate fashion, submit a web request on Twitter from the Support page and choose “Impersonation“ in the “Regarding“ drop-down. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org supplying details listed here.
#10: Use An Anti-Virus and Firewall
Finally, no list of safety tips would be complete without a reminder to protect your computer using firewalls and an up-to-date anti-virus. Check MakeUseOf’s extensive coverage of free Anti-Virus software and Security articles to safeguard your computer when using online applications like Twitter.
Are there any other tips we missed? Will these help you to keep your Twitter account safe? Shout out in the comments!