Twitter Privacy and Location Safety

Twitter is the world's most popular micro-blogging service, great for sharing those little bits of your life just at the moment you're thinking about it. This guide to your Twitter privacy will help you to know what controls you have to limit, who can see your updates and how to block unwanted people from following you. We will also look at the GEO Location features as well.

Limit Your Twitter Profile

When you login to your Twitter Profile at you can visit your Settings page. At the very bottom is a CheckBox in the section Tweet Privacy

"Protect my tweets. Only let people whom I approve follow my tweets'. If this is checked, you WILL NOT be on the public timeline. Tweets posted previously may still be publicly visible in some places."

If you check this box it will remove you from the public TwitterSphere and prevent anyone but people you follow back from being able to see your updates. This allows you to make Twitter a more confidential place between you and your friends and for some will be the preferred way to experience Twitter.

Twitter and your Location

Location is the new in thing, lots of sites are building in features that allow you to share your current location from your mobile phone. We think this is a bad idea if it's with the entire world but OK if you're able to limit who sees your location to people you really trust, your Mum or Dad, Carer or really close friends. 

Twitter's location feature known as GEO Location, is OFF by default and we would suggest you keep it that way! If you turn it on when you post from a Mobile Phone with GPS or AGPS or if you're connected to a WIFI Access Point (Coffee Shops, Restaurants) Twitter clients will be able to include your current location with the Tweet, if you are sharing that information with the world anyone would be able to find you very easily. 

If you do turn it on and change your mind, untick the checkbox and also use theDELETE ALL LOCATION DATA button to remove all your GEO Locations from Twitter's system.

Geo Location services can be great when they are used at the right time and with the right people. Be careful to only share your location with people you really trust,NEVER THE WORLD AT LARGE!

Block / Report Twitter users

Sometimes on Twitter you might get a friend request from someone whose profile looks a little strange, maybe it talks about things you don't understand and makes you feel uncomfortable. Maybe the Twitter user is being nasty to other people or posting mucky pictures. 
Twitter makes it easy to deal with these sorts of users. To the right of the Follow Button  is a GEAR symbol. Click on this and a drop down panel will appear. You have a few options. Look for BLOCK and also REPORT FOR SPAM. Using these you can tell Twitter you don't ever want to see updates from this user again.
You should report offensive material or pictures involving children or young people to CEOP the Child Exploitation and Online Protection unit of the police. CEOP was set up specifically to deal with child protection issues online. Please note CEOP is not able to get involved in cyber bullying incidents, only about the concerns of the safety of young people online.
Using this will prevent you seeing updates and the user will not be able to see your updates either. They also won't be able to send you private messages or @Replies.
Use this option to tell Twitter that you think this user is Spammy or otherwise acting against the Twitter Terms of Service.

Twitter can be a great way to make new connections by sharing bits of your life. Just make sure what to share and who you share it with is under your control....