Never assume that anything you do on the Internet is private. Everything you say on Twitter is public and many people can attest to just how public Twitter is.
In August 2014, the Toronto Star, one of Toronto’s largest newspapers, sent out a tweet about Robin Williams’ recent death. They chose a quote from Jumanji that was given a lot of backlash:
The Toronto Star deleted the tweet shortly after, but the tweet had already caught wind with other news sources and can still be found as screenshots online.
There are ways to make your tweets more private – where you’re able to send a tweet to only your followers – but if one of your followers retweets it, it becomes public, so it’s always best to be wary about what you’re posting.
Managing Privacy Settings
- In order to get to your privacy settings, click your profile picture in the top-right corner and select Settings.
- On the left-hand menu, select Security and Privacy to go to your privacy settings.
- Here you are able to change your privacy settings, simply by checking or unchecking certain features. We’ll explain each of them in order below.
Photo Tagging – “Tagging” is a way of pointing out a person in a photo, or catching a particular person’s attention with the photo because it’s somehow relevant to them. Here, you can choose who can tag photos with your (user)name: anyone on Twitter, only people whom you are following, or nobody. (NOTE: If you are tagged in a photo by someone, Twitter will notify you and let you decide whether or not you’re okay with it).
Tweet Privacy – By default, anyone can follow you, and your tweets are made public. By clicking the check box beside “Protect My Tweets”, people will have to request to follow you, and only those who follow you will see your tweets.
Tweet Location – If you click the check box beside “Add a Location to My Tweets,” whenever you post a tweet, Twitter will include the general location from where you posted it (but not the exact address, for privacy reasons, of course). You can also type in a custom location; if you do, Twitter will save the location, so that you can quickly select it again for future tweets. You can toggle this setting on or off before each tweet if you’d like. You can also come here and click Delete All Location Information to remove all location information from all of your tweets, as well as any custom locations that Twitter has saved for you.
Discoverability – Just like how you found your friends who use Twitter by entering their email addresses, others can find you in the same manner if you click this check box to mark it.
Personalization – Tailor Twitter based on your recent website visits. For more information about this, take a look at the How to Create a Twitter Account tutorial.
Promoted Content – Twitter has ads, and it can learn what types of ads you want to see if this option is checked. It’ll look at what websites you’ve viewed to choose what you’d rather see.
You can change your privacy settings at any time to suit your needs.