Twitter is a social media service through which people send short messages—'tweets' of up to 140 characters—as well as images and short video clips. It's a popular way to share information and follow others who have similar interests.

TwitterYou need to set up a Twitter account to send tweets, but anyone can read them. You can also send Direct Messages to other Twitter users to have private conversations with them.

Twitter uses hashtags (#) to categorise tweets and make it easier to search for them.

Safer Twitter use

Twitter has attracted 2.8 million Australian users, most of whom have an enjoyable experience on Twitter most of the time.

But sometimes things can and do go wrong and people may experience abuse (from someone they know, or even someone they don’t) or have their account hacked.

There are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of something going wrong.

Use strong passwords

  • Use a strong password, don’t share it with anyone and change it regularly to protect your account from hackers. Always change your password if you think your account has been compromised in any way.
  • Set your account so that it requires extra information to change your password. This information could be security questions with answers that only you know. Secure your account with two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security so that a password and verification code is needed each time you log in to Twitter. Our video shows you how to do this  

Two-factor authentication on Twitter

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Use privacy settings to protect personal information

  • Control who follows you. Tweets are public by default and are visible to anyone, including people who don’t have a Twitter account. Switch to Protected Tweets to make your tweets visible only to your (approved) Twitter followers. You’ll receive a request when someone wants to follow you and you can approve or deny the request.
  • How much personal information do you share? Remember not to disclose personal details like your email address or phone number in your profile.
  • Avoid revealing your location. Don’t enable ‘Add a location to my tweets’ if you don’t want others to know where you are when you post. Revealing your location not only tells people where you are, but also gives away where you are not (for example, at home …)

Privacy settings on Twitter

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Report abuse

  • Know how to unfollow, block or mute users whose tweets you don’t want to receive.
  • Learn how to report abuse or inappropriate content to Twitter.
  • It’s good practice to think carefully before you post.

What to do if things go wrong

If you feel unsafe right now, call the police on Triple Zero (000).

If someone is abusing you on Twitter:
  • Don’t respond to nasty or offensive comments.
  • Collect evidence of the abuse. See our page on collecting evidence.
  • Block the abuser.
  • Report the abuser to Twitter. Watch our video to see how to do this.

If the abuser’s behaviour makes you feel unsafe, you will need support from the police and other services. See our Get help page.

Where to get more information

Twitter’s Help Centre and the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner have more information on how to have a safer Twitter experience.

Reporting abuse on Twitter

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