How to Prevent Strangers From Following You on Twitter

Who are these people and why are they following me?

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You just checked your follower count on Twitter and it says you have 150 followers. The strange thing is that you only know about 10 of them, the other 140 are complete strangers. While it may seem cool that random people are following your tweets, don't you wonder who these people are and why they're following you? Maybe they just love your witty, snark-laden tweets, or maybe there is something else they like about you.

What Types of Strangers Might be Following You on Twitter?

Spam Followers

Spammers look for every possible avenue they can to inundate you with spam, this includes your twitter feed. You might be surprised to find out how many of your followers might be spammers or spam bots. You can use StatusPeople's Fake Follower Check to see what percentage of your followers are fake, real, or inactive. If you're being spammed by a follower, you can report them as spammers by performing the following actions:

1. Click on Followers from your Twitter homepage.

2. Click the button to the left of the Follow button and choose Report @person's name for SPAM.

So what happens when you report a follower for SPAM? According to the Twitter support page: "Once you click the report as spam link, we'll block the user from following you or from replying to you. Reporting an account for spam does not automatically result in suspension.

Twitter Bots

In addition to spammers, hackers and internet criminals may send out malicious Twitter bots to follow you. Malicious bots are used to spread links to malware which are often disguised as shortened links so that the malicious link itself is obscured from view by the shortened link.

Legitimate Followers

Many of your unknown followers are probably completely legit.

Maybe one of your tweets about Big Bird went viral, or perhaps people just think that your tweets are useful and informative. If you have a lot of retweets then the people doing so are most likely legit, as they took the time to retweet something you said. If you're trying to find out if someone is a legitimate follower, check to see if anyone is following them, if they only have one or two followers they might be a SPAM follower or possibly a bot.

How do you Protect Your Tweets From Being Seen by Strangers on Twitter?

To control who can follow you and see your tweets, enable Twitter's Protect my tweets option. Here's how to do it:

1. Click the gear icon at the top right-hand corner of your Twitter page and choose the Settings menu item.

2. In the Account Section, scroll down to the Tweet privacy.

3. Check the box that reads Protect my tweets and click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen.

According to Twitter support, after you protect your tweets, the following restrictions are put in place:

  • People will have to request to follow you; each follow request will need approval.
  • Your Tweets will only be visible to users you've approved.
  • Other users will not be able to retweet your Tweets.
  • Protected Tweets will not appear in Twitter search or Google search.
  • @replies you send to people who aren't following you will not be seen by those users (because you have not given them permission to see your Tweets).
  • You cannot share permanent links to your Tweets with anyone other than your approved followers.

How do you Block an Unwanted Twitter Follower?

If someone is harassing you on Twitter you can block them by doing the following:

1. Click on Followers from your Twitter homepage

2. Click the button to the left of the Follow button and choose Block @person's name.

Blocked users are prevented from following you (at least from their blocked account), and they cannot add you to their lists or have their @replies or mentions show in your mentions tab (although they may still show up in search).

Just don't forget that unless you protect your tweets via the Protect my tweets option, they can still see your public tweets on your public page.

If the blocked person gets back in your good graces you can unblock them at a later time if you wish to do so.