How to Improve Your Twitter Privacy Settings

Open chest with Privacy settings icons and Twitter logo
Click here for a quick guide on how to improve your Twitter settings
How to Improve Your Twitter Privacy Settings: A Quick Guide

While Twitter encourages open communication and information sharing, not all information should be public. The platform stores more information about you than just your tweets. You can improve your privacy with a few changes to your Twitter privacy controls. Here are the most important setting changes you should make to get your Twitter privacy back:

  • Make your account private
  • Change tagging settings to only allow followers to tag you, or turn off tagging altogether
  • Adjust your discoverability via your email address or phone number
  • Disable personalized ads
  • Opt-out of tracking off-Twitter activity
  • Opt-out of sharing your data with third-party partners
  • Opt-out of location tracking

Keep reading to find out exactly how you can change these privacy settings on Twitter and keep your private information secure.

Although Twitter doesn’t seem to have as many privacy issues as other social media platforms (like Facebook, for example), it does have its own questionable history. From being fined by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) in 2020 to recent high-profile breaches, Twitter users need to keep a close eye on their Twitter privacy settings. After all, Twitter knows more about you than you might think, so it’s important to control what you can. By taking just a few minutes to review your privacy settings, you can make your experience online more secure.

Where Can I Find the Twitter Privacy Settings?

The first step to taking control of your privacy settings on Twitter is locating the privacy settings you can update. The Twitter privacy settings can be found by following the following steps.

  1. First, go to “More” under “Profile” in the left-hand menu.
  2. Screenshot of Twitter Privacy Settings More Menu
  3. Next click on “Settings and privacy.”
  4. Screenshot of Twitter Privacy Settings Menu Settings and privacy window
  5. Click on the “Privacy and safety” menu.
  6. Screenshot of Twitter Privacy Settings Menu window
  7. You’ll see two different sections: “Your Twitter activity” and “Data sharing and off-Twitter activity.” Each section hosts different settings you can change to enhance your privacy.
  8. Screenshot of Your Twitter activity settings windowScreenshot of Data sharing and off Twitter activity window

How to Change Your Privacy and Safety Settings on Twitter

Now that you know where to find your Twitter privacy settings, it’s time to make some changes. Below are the Twitter privacy and safety settings you need to review and update for optimal privacy on Twitter.

Adjusting your privacy settings on “Your Twitter activity”

The first Twitter privacy setting menu that we’ll review is the “Your Twitter activity” menu found at More > Settings and privacy > Privacy and safety. This area has seven sections, but only three sections need to be changed to improve your privacy on Twitter. These are:

  • Audience and tagging
  • Content you see
  • Discoverability and contacts

We’ll guide you through each of these settings and how to change them below.

1. Make your account private and opt-out of tagging with the “Audience and tagging” settings

In the Audience and tagging section, you can easily upgrade your privacy on Twitter with a few clicks.

  1. Check the box next to “Protect your Tweets.” This option will make your account private, so no one but the people you follow is able to view and interact with your tweets. You’ll see a tiny lock next to your profile once you’ve done this.
  2. Screenshot of Twitter Audience and tagging settings window
  3. Click on “Photo tagging.”
  4. Click on the slide next to “Photo tagging” to disallow all tagging or check the circle next to “Only people you follow can tag you” depending on what level of control you prefer.
  5. Screenshot of Twitter Photo tagging settings window

2. Update the “Content you see” settings

The “Content you see” section allows you to review and update several settings. Adjust them by following the steps below.

  1. Click on “Topics.”
  2. Twitter Content you see settings window screenshot
  3. You’ll see the topics that Twitter is using to show you targeted advertisements.
  4. Click “Following” to unfollow any topic you don’t want to get personalized content for.
  5. Screenshot of Twitter Topics settings window
  6. Go back to the “Content you see” menu and click “Interests.”
  7. Uncheck the boxes next to an interest to stop Twitter from using it to target you with ads regarding that topic.
  8. Screenshot of Twitter Interest settings window

3. Adjust the “Discoverability and contacts” settings

The “Discoverability and contacts” section of the Twitter privacy settings consists of two options. When activated, this allows people to use your email or phone number to find your Twitter profile. To deactivate this, simply uncheck the boxes next to the applicable options.

Screenshot of Twitter Discoverability and contacts settings window

Adjusting your Twitter settings on the “Data sharing and off-Twitter activity” menu

The second Twitter privacy setting menu you should review is the “Data sharing and off-Twitter activity” section found in the main “Privacy and safety” menu. In this section, you have four areas to review. These are:

  • Ads preferences
  • Off-Twitter activity
  • Data sharing with business partners
  • Location information

Again, we’ll explain exactly which changes to make in detail below.

1. Disable personalized ads in your Twitter privacy settings

When you use Twitter’s standard settings, the company is fully allowed to use the tweets you read and respond to, as well as tweets you send out, to adjust the ads you see. But their influence goes much deeper: they also track your other activities online and use this to show you personalized ads. They might even share their collected data with advertisers. This way, they can show you more relevant advertising about that business, even when you aren’t on Twitter.

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to opt-out of these personalized ads:

  1. Click on “Ads preferences” in the “Data sharing and off-Twitter activity” settings menu
  2. Uncheck the “Personalized ads” box.

Screenshot of Twitter Ads preferences settings window

If you want to see who has access to your information, return to the “Ads preferences” menu and follow the steps below.

  1. Choose “Your advertiser list.” You will have to enter your password to gain access to this setting.
  2. Screenshot of Twitter, Your advertiser list Confirm your password window
  3. You’ll see how many advertisers have access to you through their partnership with Twitter. Click “Request advertiser list” to see all of them.
  4. Screenshot of Twitter, Your advertiser list window

2. Opt-out of Twitter tracking of off-site activities

The next privacy option under “Data sharing and off-Twitter activity” that you should opt-out of is tracking you off-Twitter. To opt out of this invasive Twitter tracking, follow the simple steps below.

  1. Click on “Off-Twitter activity.”
  2. Screenshot of Off-Twitter activity settings window
  3. Uncheck the box that says “Allow use of where you see Twitter content across the web.” If left checked, Twitter can see when you see a Tweet integrated into an article and use it to target you with advertising.
  4. Screenshot of Twitter app settings, Allow use of where you see Twitter content across the Web option

3. Turn off sharing data with business partners

The third section in this area of the Twitter privacy settings is “Share your data with Twitter’s business partners.” This gives Twitter permission to share private details about you that are not included on your Twitter profile. This includes content you’ve looked at and your interests based on Twitter’s profile of you.

Simply uncheck the box to stop Twitter from monitoring and sharing your information with their business partners.

Screenshot of Twitter data sharing with business partners settings window

4. Stop location-based ad personalization

Twitter personalizes your advertising experience based on several factors, including where you live and where you travel to. Leaving the “Personalize Based on Places You’ve Been” box checked gives Twitter permission to do this by monitoring your location.

Twitter can monitor your location through a phone’s location services, through the Wi-Fi you’re using, and even potentially through your Bluetooth connection. Twitter uses this information to show you ads related to businesses near your current location. To stop Twitter from tracking your location, follow these steps:

  1. Click on “Location information” in the “Data sharing and off-Twitter activity” settings menu.
  2. Uncheck the box next to “Personalize based on places you’ve been.”
  3. Screenshot of Twitter Location information settings window
  4. To remove your location from past Tweets, click “Add location information to your Tweets” and then click “Remove all location information attached to your tweets.”
  5. Screenshot of Twitter Add location information to your Tweets settings

Other Twitter Settings to Update for Privacy and Security

Another area of Twitter settings that you should review and update for optimal privacy and security, is the “Security and account access” menu. You can find it by going to “More” and then choosing “Settings and privacy.” In this area, make sure to:

  • Turn on two-factor authentication
  • Opt into the additional password reset protection
  • Remove third-party access to your Twitter account
  • Disconnect unauthorized sessions
  • Manage Google and Apple accounts attached to your Twitter account

Screenshot of Twitter Security and account access menu

Why You Should Update Your Twitter Privacy Settings

Privacy settings icon

In most cases, when an app is personalizing your experience, it means they are using your information to make the advertisements you see more relevant to you. When it comes to Twitter, this information includes:

  • Your Twitter activity
  • The device you use
  • Locations you travel to
  • Websites and apps you use (that integrate with Twitter)

Like Facebook, Twitter uses tracking codes on a slue of websites in order to collect data on its users. These tracking codes then report back to Twitter every time you visit the website, allowing Twitter to monitor your online activity outside of the platform.

In fact, Twitter has made a practice of not only using the data they collect on its users for targeted advertisements, but also selling user data to its advertising partners. This has made the company a lot of money. Twitter selects these options by default, but you can change these settings to suit your preferences.

Twitter has made strives to improve its privacy policy to give users more control. These changes include allowing users to opt-out of tracking and having their information sold to third parties, among others. If you don’t want your information to be used to fill Twitter’s pockets, it’s time to update your Twitter privacy settings.

You Can Control Your Twitter Privacy Settings

Your online privacy is important. While you may be comfortable sharing some information, you don’t have to make all your information available to advertisers and other businesses. Be sure to check out our other articles on safeguarding your privacy settings on different online platforms:

To further enhance your privacy online, consider connecting through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A quality VPN can help anonymize your information online, protecting you from companies that track your information online. VPNs also provide a host of benefits, including accessing content restricted to certain geographic locations. Moreover, with a VPN you can avoid firewalls at work or other restricted locations.

If you’re considering deleting Twitter or temporarily deactivating it, check out this step-by-step guide.

How to Improve Your Twitter Privacy Settings: Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about the best settings for your Twitter privacy settings, we have you covered. Here are the most frequently asked questions about the privacy settings on Twitter.

Changing your Twitter account settings for privacy is easy:

  1. Click “More” in the left-hand menu when logged into Twitter. You can find this under “Profile.”
  2. Click on “Settings and privacy.”
  3. Click on the “Privacy and safety” menu.
  4. Go through the options and adjust the settings according to your wishes.
  5. Go back to the “Settings and privacy” menu, and repeat steps 3 and 4 with the “Security and account access” menu.

Check out our full article for all of the Twitter privacy settings you need to change.

It’s important to increase your privacy on Twitter with today’s online world. Here are just a few things you can do to improve your privacy on Twitter:

  • Protect your tweets so only your followers can see them.
  • Opt-out of tracking off of Twitter.
  • Opt-out of location tracking.
  • Don’t allow your data to be shared with third-party partners.
  • Turn off tagging.
  • Stop non-followers from messaging you.

For our full list of changes to the Twitter settings and how to implement them, read our article on Twitter privacy.

As a default, yes. Anyone on Twitter can see your Tweets unless you make your Twitter account private. To stop non-followers from seeing your Tweets, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “More.”
  2. Click on “Settings and privacy.”
  3. Choose “Audience and tagging.”
  4. Check the box next to “Protect your Tweets.”

If there’s a specific person you want to keep your tweets hidden from, you can also opt to block them. Check out our full article on Twitter’s privacy settings for other ways to make Twitter more secure and private.

Security research coordinator
Kat is an IT security business consultant with experience in project management, process development, and leadership. She coordinates our team's research efforts in the field of cybersecurity, privacy, and censorship.