Privacy and security are two of the biggest concerns when social media, and rightly so. We’ve got five tips for you to improve your Twitter privacy, so you can tweet knowing that you’re secure.
Protect your password
Your password is your first line of defense when it comes to Twitter. It keeps the hackers out and keeps you in control of your account.
When creating your Twitter password, try to ensure that it is at least six characters long, and that it contains both letters and numbers. Make it something that cannot be guessed easily, and change it regularly.
Most people use the same password or a variation of one on all of their online accounts. This is bad practice, as it means that once someone has cracked one password, they can access all of your accounts. So try to make your Twitter password unique.
Sign out when you’re finished
If you’re on a shared computer, you’ve got to remember to sign out of Twitter when you’re done tweeting. That includes signing out of any dashboards or third-party services as well.
This is a good habit to get into if you’re concerned about your privacy, even if you’re not on a shared computer. By remaining logged in to Twitter while you surf the web, you could be sharing your Twitter information with websites without even knowing it.
Never click on links that you don’t trust
This one’s important: don’t click on a shortened link from within Twitter unless you trust both the source and the destination.
It’s an unfortunate fact, but hackers can take control of others’ accounts. And this means that even if you trust the person sending out the link, there’s a chance that it is not actually them tweeting it.
Also, links on Twitter are usually shortened using a service like bit.ly. Because of this, you usually can’t see the destination of the link until after you’ve clicked it. However, there are some services out there, like TweetDeck, which will show you a preview of these links before you click through.
Learn the difference between DMs and @replies
Don’t be a Weiner: learn the difference between Direct Messages and @replies on Twitter. Right now.
Direct Messages can be sent to anyone who follows you, and they’re private – only between you and that individual. @replies, on the other hand, are sent publicly. Although they will be directed to the user you mention, they’ll be visible in your public timeline and in theirs.
Understanding the difference between these two Twitter features can make all the difference when it comes to private tweets, pictures and thoughts.
Only use geo-tagging if you understand the consequences
Twitter allows its users to tag their tweets with their geographical location. At first glance, this is a fun little feature – but it has a number of privacy and security implications.
By tweeting your location, you’re letting everyone who is following you know exactly where you are. And Twitter is not like Facebook: those who follow you don’t need your permission to do so. So by tweeting your location, you are potentially letting hundreds or even thousands of strangers know where you are.
There have been stories of people tweeting or posting their location to a social network, and then leaving their homes open to burglary when the thieves read that they were out of town.
Be careful about using this feature.