Taking Responsibility

I get enquiries for help and assistance on various Twitter-related bugs and issues on a daily basis, and where I can I’m happy to provide guidance.

Lately the most common request has been from users looking to stop something from populating their Twitter timeline with automated tweets. After the Mikeyy exploit, I wrote about steps you can take to ensure your Twitter account remains secure, but these kinds of attacks on Twitter are rare. The reality is that most of the auto-tweeting bots on Twitter are not operating in a malicious way. Sure, they’re undesirable and not something any of us really want to see, but they haven’t figured out your password and they haven’t hacked your account. They’ve been authorised, and the person who gave them permission was you.

You may not want to believe it, you may swear blind that you’ve never, ever signed up for anything, but whether you want to accept it or not nine times out of ten these things happen because you’ve put your Twitter John Hancock on somebody else’s dotted line. And most of the time it’s some kind of internet marketer scam.

Fortunately, Twitter allocates us a fairly easy way to monitor and disable these nuisances.

  1. Log on to Twitter
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Click on Connections

This area lists all the external applications and tools to which you’ve granted access to your account. For me, this includes stuff like CoTweet, Seesmic, MrTweet, TweetMeme and WeFollow.

Twitter Connections

If there’s anything in there you don’t immediately recognise and/or trust, click on the ‘Revoke Access’ link, and you’re away.

I recommend having an inspection of your Twitter connections on a regular basis – at least once per week. Most of the time the auto-tweeters can be found in here. Sometimes, they won’t, and on those occasions please give me a shout and we’ll try to figure it out. Otherwise, if we take a little responsibility, we can all play our part in keeping Twitter auto-tweet free.