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UPDATED May 2, 2016

Safety While Using Social Media

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Information about our lives, including personal information, is increasingly ending up online.  Many of us have concerns over the security and privacy of sharing our personal information on the Internet.  Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking may have even greater safety risks and concerns when their personal information appears on the Internet.  However, having no online presence is generally unrealistic and isolating, so there are some things you can do to try to control who sees your information and to stay safe while using technology.

Safety with Twitter and personal blogs

back to topHow can I prevent someone from finding me on Twitter?

To prevent someone from finding you on Twitter, you can click on the drop-down menu on the top right, select Settings, then select Security and Privacy; and finally, click "Protect my Tweets.”  This means that you will be able to approve anyone who requests to follow you on Twitter.  This will also remove your tweets from the public timeline.  You can also visit the Help Center for more information on public and protected Tweets.  Note that any public tweets you may have made prior to changing this setting will still be available on the Internet.

You can also block or report individual people from seeing your profile.  Do this by going to the Twitter homepage of the person you want to block and then going to the drop-down menu on the right (the  gear icon) and clicking “Block” or "Report."

You can read more about protecting your personal information on Twitter.

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back to topHow can I permanently delete my Twitter account?

You may consider permanently canceling your Twitter account.  To permanently cancel your Twitter account, select the gear icon, then select “Settings,” then select “Account.”  Scroll to the bottom of the screen, then select “Deactivate My Account.”  If your account is not reactivated within 30 days, Twitter will automatically delete all of the data in your account.

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back to topWhat is the "Tweet With Your Location" option?

Twitter offers an option to tweet your location.  This means that Twitter can identify where you are based on your browser or device (like a cell phone).  The default setting for this option is that it is turned off, so if you want to use this feature, you will have to turn this function on.  If you opt to turn this on, your location, whether it is a neighborhood or an exact latitude and longitude, is shared with the entire Internet unless your tweets are set to be protected.  Read more about protecting your tweets on our How can I prevent someone from finding me on Twitter? page.

Note: If you are a victim of domestic violence, stalking or harassment, using the "Tweet with your location" feature may put your in danger, especially if you are trying to keep your whereabouts confidential.

You can read more about the Tweet with your location feature on the Twitter website.

To verify that the “Tweet with your location” option is turned off, select the gear icon on the top right-hand corner of your Twitter page, select “Settings,” then select “Security and privacy,” and then de-select the “Add a location to my Tweets” box if it is checked.

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back to topHow do I keep my blog safe?

The best way to keep your blog safe is to not write personal or identifying information on it.  Some people treat their blogs like diaries, but this can be very dangerous especially if you are in or have left an abusive relationship.  If you have a blog, no matter what kind of information you post, it could be a good idea to make the blog available by invitation only.

There are many blog platforms.  For example, on Blogger, a popular blog site by Google, you can do this by clicking “Settings” on the far left-hand side of the page.  Then, select “Basic” and scroll down the page to the Permissions section.  Under “Blog readers,” you may then choose who can make edits to and read your blog.  You may restrict readers of the blog individually by adding or deleting readers in this section.

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