Being harassed on Twitter is never fun. And it can happen to you whether you’re already a decently well-known figure with that blue check mark of authenticity, an up-and-comer in the world of online witticisms, or if you came up with a single tweet that blew up beyond your wildest expectations. Or, of course, if you’re a woman.
We’ve previously covered techniques you can use to cleanse your Twitter feed of the most unpleasant users, including reporting all the crap they spew your way and shutting them down when they invade your digital bubble.
My Twitter travels this weekend also took me in the direction of an excellent thread from Heidi N. Moore, former business editor at Mashable and Wall Street Journal reporter.
Her advice? Keep a close eye on the lists other Twitter users have added you to, which you can do by clicking on this link in your desktop browser or pulling up the Twitter app, tapping on your picture, tapping on “Lists,” and then tapping on “Member of.”
If you see that you’re unwittingly a member of a bunch of horrific and hateful lists, the easy way to remove yourself from them is to click or tap on the list’s creator and block them. Not only will you disappear from said lists, but you’ll also get the added bonus of ensuring that the terrible user behind the list can’t interact with you on Twitter (from that account, at least).
5. No, really, check your lists! Whether you're a woman or not, to be fair. Anyone with reach is a potential target. https://t.co/mlHAUiJYcr
— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) March 17, 2019
Unfortunately, there’s no way to permanently prevent Twitter users from adding you to lists — a feature I’d love to see in the “Privacy and safety” section of its settings someday. Until then, Moore has some other useful advice to help combat Twitter trolls, which includes:
Making your account private and reporting anyone who shares screenshots of your tweets—which should be a violation of Twitter’s rules.
If you’re publicly tweeting about a controversial subject, consider censoring certain words in your tweets to make it harder for bots and users to target you after the fact. (e.g. “T—-p” instead of “Trump”)
Regularly cull your “follower” listings of obvious troll accounts: accounts with no photos, no bios, all the same kind of retweets (like political ones, for example), etc. You can also use Twitter’s settings to block notifications from these kinds of accounts. While this won’t stop them from following you, unless you protect your profile, it’ll at least make it harder for them to bug you.
Be ruthless with your blocking. As Moore describes: ”Set yourself some rules so you’re not wasting time thinking too much about what to do. I instablock *any* R*sist*nce accounts and M*GA accounts because they are frequent participants in and disseminators of targeted harassment against women.”
If you find a single account is causing you a lot of grief and, worse, the account’s owner is rounding up an online gang to go after you, you can use a browser extension like Twitter Block Chain to block all of that account’s followers. Make yourself invisible to those who support online harassment.