On social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc incidents like cyberbullying, scams, threats, abuse are a common problem and platforms often struggle to deal with these. For Twitter, which has close to 330 million users across the world, the issue of keeping users safe on the platform is one that arises quite often, given it is a public platform.
But what are the options for Twitter users when it comes to protecting themselves? For the Safer Internet Day, indianexpress.com reached out to Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy India and South Asia of Twitter regarding the topic. In an email, Kaul shared some key features available on the platform, which users can utilise to stay safe on Twitter.
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Here’s how you can protect your Twitter account
Unfollow: This is a very common option that users on Twitter should follow if they find someone is stalking them or trying to bully them on the social media platform. Just go to the user’s profile — the one you want to block — and click on the unfollow option next to the profile name.
Block: This is yet another very common feature that you can follow if someone is troubling you on Twitter. The Block option helps users restrict specific accounts from contacting them, seeing their Tweets, and following them by blocking the account. Just click on the three dots option on the top of the screen and click on block option at the bottom of the list.
Advanced Block: With this safety feature users can export their list of blocked accounts to share with another person and import someone else’s list of blocked accounts. You will need to head to the Settings menu to enable this feature.
Mute: Twitter lets users remove an account’s Tweets from their timeline without unfollowing or blocking it. Users can also use Advanced Mute in order to mute particular words, conversations, phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags. “We give you the option to mute Tweets that contain particular words, phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags. Muting will remove these Tweets from your Notifications tab, push notifications, SMS, email notifications, Home timeline, and from replies to Tweets,” Kaul explains.
Disable Receive Direct Message setting: This feature allows users to prevent accounts that they do not follow from DMing them by disabling the Receive Direct Message option in the Setting menu.
Filtered notifications: Users can apply different filters on the types of notifications they want to receive. There’s Mute Notifications option that allows people to mute phrases and words they’d like to avoid seeing in their notifications. There’s Advanced Filters option that allows users to disable notifications from certain types of accounts or at certain time periods.
Protected Tweets: When a person signs up for Twitter, their Tweets are public by default which means that anyone can view and interact with them. By protecting tweets users can make their account private and only followers will be able to send messages and check tweets. By enabling the Protected Tweets option users agree to make their account private and will receive requests from other Twitter users who wish to follow them. It’s up to the user to accept or deny the request.
Hide Replies: Twitter allows everyone to hide replies to their tweets. This feature gives more control to the users but other users will be able to see and engage with hidden replies by tapping the grey icon that will appear on the tweets.
Safe search: The Safe Search option removes potentially sensitive content by default, as well as accounts people have blocked and muted from search pages. Head to the Settings menu to enable it.
Sensitive media: Twitter users can opt-out of seeing certain pictures and videos that may be sensitive. Twitter’s default setting is to place potentially sensitive material behind a warning. The option can be adjusted in Setting menu.
Report: “If people on Twitter see something that violates the Twitter Rules, the most important thing they can do is report it,” Kaul said. Twitter users can report abusive behaviour directly from a tweet, profile, or Direct Message or fill out a Twitter web form to report abusive tweet behaviour. “Multiple Tweets can also be included in the same report, providing us with better context when investigating the report. Today, we remove 3 times more abusive accounts, which are suspended within 24 hours after being reported,” Kaul highlighted.
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