Twitter is a social media network that enables sharing of information amongst several users within a short amount of time around the world. It is a great form of communication! Given the number of users on Twitter, however, you may want to adjust your privacy settings to protect your data and identity. Adjust your privacy settings on Twitter by modifying the “Tweet Privacy”, “Tweet Location” and “HTTPS only” sections of the "Settings" section on your Twitter profile.
The “Tweet Privacy” option is located under the “Settings” section of your profile. Find the link by clicking on the button on the top right-hand corner of the Twitter page after you are logged in. The button looks like the profile of a person. When you click this button, a drop-down menu appears that includes “Settings”.
The “Tweet Privacy” section of the page that appears on your computer screen is important. If you check the box beside the line “Protect my Tweets”, only those people who you choose to follow will see your Tweets. You control who sees your electronic feed of Tweets.
If do you do not tick the box, your profile is public. This means that anyone with an Internet connection can find your profile and read the Tweets you have sent from your account, regardless if they have Twitter accounts. The default account setting is to keep your Tweets public rather than private.
If you do decide to protect your Tweets, simply check the box. People who you do not follow now are not able to view your Tweets. They can see your Twitter user name and bio but not any Tweets you send from the time you check the box onward. Instead, your electronic feed tells readers that your account is protected and only confirmed followers have access to your Tweets and complete profile. While people can follow you, they do not see your Tweets until you choose to follow them back.
Location of Your Tweets
Another way you can adjust your privacy settings on Twitter is by choosing whether to attach your location to the Tweets you send from your account. By default, the button to enable this option is not clicked and is therefore disabled for your Tweets.
This privacy setting option is also available under the “Settings” section of your Twitter account. If you choose to enable the “Tweet Location” option, your location is attached to the Tweets you send. You can select which Tweets you want to attach locations to and which Tweets you do not.
Be cautious of your own privacy in terms of the “Tweet Location” option. When you give your location information, it may be easier for strangers to find out more about you. You also open doors to identity theft. Also, if your location changes between your Tweets, people on Twitter may be able to determine that you are not home. People who know where your home residence is located then have opportunity to try to enter your home, particularly if you live alone. Opportunity for break-ins may rise if you are not aware of your privacy settings. Be cognizant of how giving your location on Twitter relates to your own privacy.
HTTPS Setting On Twitter
You can also adjust your privacy settings on Twitter by selecting the box “HTTPS only”. This privacy setting option is also located from the “Settings” link on the drop-down menu at the top right-hand corner of the screen.
For a higher level of privacy, select the box “Always use HTTPS”. Selecting this option means that your Twitter profile has a secure connection whenever possible. By checking this box, the traffic to your browser becomes encrypted. The other option would be an unsecure HTTP connection (no “S”).
With HTTPS, only your browser and your server can decrypt the traffic. You maintain the confidentiality of your information and therefore your privacy. While you may choose to share your tweets publicly on Twitter, you unintentionally expose your data with an HTTP connection. As well, you expose your entire computer, beyond the Twitter connection, when you use an HTTP connection. To maintain control on your data, you may favor the HTTPS setting as your privacy setting on Twitter.
There are three ways to adjust your privacy settings on Twitter. You can choose to protect your Tweets by checking the “Tweet Privacy” box on your profile. Also, consider whether you want to give other people your location information in your Tweets; if you do not, do not check the box related to “Tweet Location”. The third way to adjust your privacy settings on Twitter is to check the “HTTPS Only” section of your Twitter profile. Be cognizant that your Twitter profile has privacy settings and that exposure of your personal details can lead to issues of identity theft and hackers into your account for various reasons. Be safe in your online activities on Twitter.
Twitter Help Center, About the Twitter Location Feature, https://support.twitter.com/articles/78525
Twitter Help Center, About Public and Protected Tweets, https://support.twitter.com/articles/14016
Mashable, Web Security: Why You Should Always Use HTTPS, http://mashable.com/2011/05/31/https-web-security/