A Look Inside Twitter’s New Safety Center

Some more good news this week: Twitter has announced a new Safety Center, with resources for Twitter users (and parents of Twitter users – there’s a section specifically for families) to learn about online safety in general, and the tools that Twitter has to offer to make online activity less perilous.

Twitter-safety-centerIn the “Tools” section, the guidelines spell out how to keep your account secure, control what others see about you, control what you see and report violations.

In terms of what others see about you, the Twitter experience allows you to:

  • Keep your tweets private (only friends can see them)
  • Control who can tag you in photos
  • Manage who can find your account by email address or phone number
  • Manage who can see your location
  • Control who can send you direct messages

Some of the above are obvious to most Twitter users, but having the “how to” guides in one place is helpful, especially for parents who might not be Twitter users themselves.

The “Policies” section lays our exactly what is and is not permitted on Twitter. This is a good step – if you’ve ever tried to navigate the average social network’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, you know it’s very hard to get a clear understanding of the rules – written by lawyers for lawyers in most cases. That’s not the case here.

The “Enforcement” section spells out how Twitter responds to reports of inappropriate activity and what they do about it. In their words, they “use both automated and manual tools to contact the people involved, conduct an investigation and take action.” Penalties can include temporary or permanent suspension of user accounts.

The “Tips for Families” section has a reminder for parents of a message they should share with their kids before they are active on social media:

“Most of the communication taking place on Twitter is viewable by everyone. Since the information posted is public, it can be Retweeted (or reposted) on the site by anyone who sees it. While Tweets can be protected so only approved followers can see them, most users share their Tweets with everyone.”

What they don’t say is that even if your account is private, anyone who follows you can retweet what you’ve posted. After that happens, the tweet is out of your control.

Parents can use the Twitter guide to encourage kids new to social media or already active online to be wary of their privacy and threats, and to act appropriately at all times.





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