Twitter privacy settings on Windows: Tight level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Twitter using Windows. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Tight level protection
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How to keep your account from getting hacked

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Set a strong password

What for: So you don’t get hacked.

If you use a short and simple password, cybercriminals can guess it and hijack your account. The more complex and longer the password, the stronger it is. Use a strong password that:

  • Consists of 8–20 characters.
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.).
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase.
  • Is not the same as your password for any other account.
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, etc., or those of your relatives and friends).

To change your password:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. In the Account section select Password;
  4. Enter the current password for your Twitter account;
  5. Enter a new strong password twice;
  6. Click Save.

Enable two-factor authentication

What for: so you definitely don’t get hacked.

Twitter can prompt you to enter an additional one-time code every time you log into your account. If cybercriminals attempt to hack your account, they will not be able to log into it without this code. The code can be received in different ways: via a text message (SMS) or using an authentication app.

To enable two-factor authentication:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. In the Account section select Security;
  4. Select Two-Factor Authentication;
  5. Select the authentication method:
  6. Text message — receive a one-time code by SMS.
  7. Authentication app — a one-time code is generated in a dedicated app such as Authy or Google Authenticator.
  8. Security key — a one-time code is generated using a USB authorization device such as YubiKey.
  9. When two-factor authentication is enabled, you will see a dialog box with a one-time backup code. Copy it and store it in a safe place. You’ll need this code to access your account if you lose your phone. Note that you can log in using the backup code only in the Web version of Twitter.

A hardware security key can be used only in combination with two-factor authentication by text message or a mobile app.

Downside: If you use SMS-based authentication, Twitter can use the specified phone number for targeted ads.

Use a temporary password

What for: not to reveal your main password to third-party services.

Use a temporary password if you use the Twitter account to log into third-party services. It lets you log in under your account name, but it expires in one hour. Even if the temporary password ends up in the hands of cybercriminals, they will hardly be able to use it in time.

A temporary password can be generated only after two-factor authentication has been enabled.

To generate a temporary password:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. In the Account section select Security;
  4. Select Two-factor authentication;
  5. In the Additional methods section select Temporary password;
  6. Click Copy password.

Check the security of your account

What for: To make sure that you are the only one who has access to the account.

You can view the history of logins and other activities carried out from your account. If you detect any suspicious activity, immediately change your password and terminate all active sessions except the current one.

To check the security of your account:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. In the Account section select Apps and sessions;
  4. Check your personal data and activity log in the Sessions section;
  5. Click Log out all other sessions to end all active Twitter sessions except the current one.


How to hide your activity

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Stop Twitter from showing your location

What for: to use device resources sparingly and hide from cybercriminals.

Twitter receives information about your approximate location based on your IP address so you can geotag your posts and view targeted ads and recommendations.

Information about your location can help cybercriminals launch phishing attacks.

To disable geotags:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Select Location information;
  5. Clear the check mark next to Add location information to my Tweets.

To remove geotags from previously published tweets, in the same menu click Delete all location information and confirm your selection.

Downside: You will lose any geotags that you added to your tweets in the iOS or Android app. However, if you enabled the Precise location feature in the Twitter app on your mobile device, location settings in the Web version will not affect this feature.

Stop the app from using additional information about you

What for: to minimize the risk of a leak.

Twitter may collect additional information about you to configure targeted adds and recommendations. For example, if you regularly log into Twitter from your mobile device and visit travel sites on the computer at roughly the same time and both devices are connected to the same network, Twitter can assume that these mobile device and computer belong to you and will begin showing hotel and travel agency ads in the app.

Additional information includes:

  • Places you visited and precise geographic coordinates;
  • Information about your other browsers and devices, even if you haven’t used them to log in to Twitter;
  • Information about e-mail addresses and phone numbers that are not linked to your Twitter account but presumably belong to you;
  • Online browsing history;
  • History of views and your interests.

Some of this information is provided by partners of the service. Twitter itself can also share it with third parties, which increases the risk of a leak. By default, the social network does not collect extended information, but we recommend checking the settings anyway.

To stop the app from collecting and using personalized information:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Content preferences section;
  4. Select Personalization and data;
  5. If the toggle switch next to Personalization and data is turned on, click it and select Disable.

Keep in mind that this does not disable content personalization. Twitter will still keep doing it based on your device name, social network activity, and IP address. Access to this data cannot be disabled.

Remove information about your interests

What for: so Twitter has less info about you.

Twitter stores data about your behavior, hobbies, and locations. The service uses them for targeted ads and recommendations. If you are bothered by targeted ads, you can remove this information.

To remove saved data about your interests and location:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. In the Account section select Your Twitter data;
  4. Select Interests and ads data;
  5. Click Interests from Twitter and clear check marks next to all items in the list;
  6. Click Inferred interests from partners and clear check marks next to all items in the list;
  7. Click Tailored audiences and clear check marks next to all items in the list.

Downside: Twitter can add new information on your interests and preferences based on your social network activity, so we recommend checking this list regularly.


How to defeat spammers and trolls

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Restrict contacts from sending you direct messages

What for: to limit unwanted communication.

By default, only users whom you follow can send you direct messages. However, we recommend checking this setting:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Make sure that the Receive messages from anyone check mark is cleared.

This will not affect users with whom you have already started chats. To stop them from sending you direct messages, blacklist them.

Companies and developers may send you direct messages requesting your location or access to media files. They use this information to configure recommendations. Note that this information can be shared with third parties, so treat such requests with care.

Exclude offensive posts from your news feed

What for: to keep your peace of mind.

You can stop tweets containing specific words, usernames, hashtags, and smiley faces from appearing in your news feed and notifications. This lets you hide unwanted posts.

To configure the filter:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Content preferences section;
  4. Select Muted and then Muted words;
  5. Click + in the upper right corner of the screen.
  6. In the opened window:
  7. Enter the word or phrase that you want to mute;
  8. Select the check mark next to Home timeline;
  9. Select the check mark next to Notifications and select From anyone;
  10. Select the check mark next to Forever;
  11. Click Save.

By default, the filter applies forever to both the home timeline and the notification feed. Also keep in mind that the filter is not case-sensitive and does not apply to notifications from users you follow.

You can also configure the muting of tweets, comments, and notifications from specific users:

  1. Open the user profile whose publications you want to mute;
  2. Click the three-dot icon to the left of Follow;
  3. Select Mute @username.

You can view the list of users you’ve muted by selecting Muted accounts in the Muted section.

Stop unwanted content from showing in the news feed and search results

What for: To exclude adult and graphic content from your notification feed.

Twitter can filter out content it designates offensive. This feature is disabled by default. However, we recommend checking the settings.

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Make sure that the Display media that may contain sensitive content check mark is cleared in the Safety section.

Keep in mind that you will still see such content in search results. To stop Twitter from showing it in search results:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Content preferences section;
  4. Select Search setting;
  5. Select the Hide sensitive content check mark.

Stop users from adding you to teams

What for: added protection against fraud.

Other Twitter users can add you to teams using the TweetDeck app. It lets several users publish tweets on behalf of a group account. Joining a team does not require disclosing your password or other personal data. When a user who offers to add you to a team asks you to provide your personal details, this is a fraudster.

After getting added to a team, you will receive notifications about the activity of all team members.

If you do not intend to use the team access feature, disable this option.

To stop getting added to teams:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Scroll down and select Twitter for teams;
  5. Disable Twitter for teams option.

Stop blocked accounts from showing in the search results

If you block a user, you will still be able to see their account in Twitter search results. To exclude blocked accounts from search results:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Content preferences section;
  4. Select Search setting;
  5. Select the check mark next to Remove blocked and muted accounts.


How to hide posts from unwanted people

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Block unwanted users

What for: to get rid of unwanted people in the virtual space.

To stop a specific user from viewing your tweets and replying to them or sending you direct messages, you can block this user. The blocked user will not be able to view your profile or contact you.

To block a user:

  1. Go to the profile of the follower you wish to block;
  2. Click the three-dot icon to the left of Follow or Following;
  3. Select Block @username;
  4. Select Block in the opened dialog box.

The user will not be notified about getting blocked. However, if they visit your profile, they will see that you blacklisted them. In that case, the blocked user can file a complaint against you and view all tweets in which you mentioned them.

You can unblock a blocked user any time (for example, if you blocked the user by mistake):

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Scroll down and select Blocked accounts;
  5. Click Blocked to the right of the account that you wish to unblock.

Keep in mind that if one of your followers shares the link to the photo attached to your private tweet, the image will be visible to all recipients.


How not to expose your personal data

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Remove synchronized contacts

What for: to prevent your contact details from ending up in the hands of cybercriminals in the event of a leak.

Twitter can use contact lists of your email account and your mobile device to recommend users you might want to follow. The service also uses contacts to create targeted ads and form your news feed. This information can be shared with third parties, which increase the risk of leaks.

If you previously imported contact lists of your email account or other services into Twitter, you can remove the imported contacts from the social network.

To remove contacts imported from other contact lists:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Select Discoverability and contacts;
  5. Select Manage contacts;
  6. Click Remove all contacts and confirm your selection.

Keep in mind that after this, contact syncing will be disabled on all devices.

Downside: Twitter will no longer be able to recommend accounts to follow from your contact list. However, you may still find some people from your contact list in suggestions.

Create an archive with your profile data

What for: to see what information Twitter has on you and create a backup copy of important data.

Twitter can generate a file with your profile data for you. This will let you find out what kind of information the service collects about you as well as save it in case your account gets blocked, removed, or hijacked.

To download the archive with your data:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Account section;
  4. Select Your Twitter data;
  5. Enter your password in the Download archive section and confirm your selection;
  6. Click Request archive next to Twitter and confirm your selection;
  7. A file with account data will be sent to your e-mail address.

Here you can also download your Periscope account data (if you use Periscope for direct broadcasts in Twitter).

It may take several days to prepare the archive. Note that you may request a data download up to once every 30 days.

Limit the ability to tag you in photos

What for: To control who has access to information about you.

By default, all Twitter users can tag you in photos. If you get tagged by a person whom you follow, the tweet will appear in your timeline. In this way, your information can become available to strangers. You can block users from tagging your profile when they post images.

To stop other users from tagging you in photos:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Select Photo tagging;
  5. Disable the Photo tagging option.

You can view the previously published photos in which you were tagged. If necessary, you can remove the tag:

  1. Select the Notifications section in the menu on the left;
  2. Go to the Mentions tab;
  3. Select the tweet with a photo that you want to untag and click the arrow icon to the right of the author’s name;
  4. Click Remove me from photo tag;
  5. Click OK.

Make your account private

What for: to keep cybercriminals from learning sensitive information.

By default, your posts are visible to everybody, even people who do not have a Twitter account. Information from posts can help cybercriminals launch phishing attacks. You can limit the visibility of your tweets to everybody except approved followers.

To limit access to your posts:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Select the check mark next to Protect your Tweets;
  5. Click Protect.

Now Twitter users who want to read your posts will have to submit a request and wait for your approval.

Previously published tweets will remain public.

Also, people who were among your followers at the time when you made your profile private will continue to see your tweets.

Make your profile highly anonymous

What for: to prevent your personal information from ending up in the wrong hands.

Cybercriminals can use your account data to stage phishing attacks, and Twitter can use it to configure ads and recommendations. You can limit the scope of publicly available information or refrain from specifying your real info.

To change the profile data:

  1. Go to the Profile section in the menu on the left;
  2. Click Edit profile;
  3. In the Name field, enter an alias;
  4. Remove data from the fields:
  5. Bio
  6. Location
  7. Website
  8. Click Edit next to your birth date and select Edit;
  9. Click Remove birth date and select Remove;
  10. Click your profile photo and upload any image that makes it impossible to determine that the account belongs specifically to you;
  11. Click Save in the upper right corner of the profile changes page.

Stop users from finding your account using your phone number or e-mail address

What for: to prevent cybercriminals from using such information.

By default, other Twitter users can find your account using your phone number or email address. Information from your profile can help cybercriminals stage phishing attacks, so we recommend disabling this feature.

To stop users from finding your account using your phone number or e-mail address:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Privacy and safety section;
  4. Select Discoverability and contacts;
  5. Clear check marks next to:
  6. Let people who have your email address find you on Twitter.
  7. Let people who have your phone number find you on Twitter.

Downside: Other users will have a harder time finding your Twitter account.

Disable access to your account for third-party services and apps

What for: to minimize the risk of a leak.

If you linked other sites or apps to Twitter (such as apps for finding followers or counting tweets), they can obtain access to your data. In some cases they may also be able to like posts and follow or unfollow accounts on your behalf.

Such sites and apps do not normally inform you explicitly about the permissions you grant them.

You can deny third-party apps and sites access to your data in order to rule out any unauthorized activity in your account and lower the risk of data leaks.

To disable access to your account for third-party services:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. In the Account section select Apps and sessions;
  4. Check the list of apps and sites that have access to your profile and block the ones you do not use:
  5. Click the right arrow next to the app.
  6. Select Revoke access.


How to get rid of unwanted notifications

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Turn off unnecessary notifications

What for: to avoid distractions.

By default, Twitter sends you notifications about the most interesting activities of other users (in the opinion of the service). If these notifications distract you, you can stop the app from notifying you about activities of specific user categories, e.g. those who have not confirmed their contact details (spammers often avoid doing this to save time).

To do so:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Notifications section;
  4. Set the check mark next to Quality filter;
  5. Click Advanced filters and select check marks next to:
  6. You don’t follow
  7. Who don’t follow you
  8. With a new account
  9. Who have a default profile photo
  10. Who haven’t confirmed their email
  11. Who haven’t confirmed their phone number

Downside: The filter does not apply to accounts that you follow or with which you recently interacted.

Stop Twitter from sending you ads

What for: to avoid distractions.

Twitter can send you browser notifications and e-mails. Some of the notifications are marketing materials about recommended products, including from Twitter partners.

To stop receiving such notifications:

  1. Click More in the menu on the left to view advanced settings;
  2. Open Settings and privacy;
  3. Go to the Notifications section;
  4. Select Email notifications;
  5. Clear check marks next to:
  6. News about Twitter product and feature updates
  7. News about Twitter on partner products and other third party services
  8. Participation in Twitter research surveys
  9. Suggestions based on your recent follows
  10. Tips on Twitter business products

We recommend reviewing other notification categories and disabling those that you do not want to receive.

Downside: Some notifications may contain information about service features and useful tips on using the platform.

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A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

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