A few tips from a long-time Twitter user.
I am not a cybersecurity expert. I am not a social media developer. I haven’t learned to code. In fact, I am barely computer literate.
However, I’ve had a Twitter account for seven years and became active on the site a little less than five years ago. I have a small-ish platform there and I have come to value the relationships I’ve developed there.
Thing is, Elon Musk just took over the place. And, since the sale went through, every racist/misogynist/transphobic/anti-Semitic/ableist/Christian nationalist/Nazi-sympathizing mouth-breather with a smartphone is showing their whole ass, shouting the phrase “free speech” all the while. As you may well know, use of the N-word skyrocketed since the sale went through and, although no one has come into my timeline has called me that (yet), the number of bots leaving “spoiling for a fight” replies to my tweets has increased exponentially.
Still, I don’t plan to leave — at least not right away. And if you don’t plan to leave soon (or ever), here’s what you can do to keep the “free speech absolutists” out of your subtweets:
- Download the Bot Sentinel app from botsentinel.com and start vetting any new followers. Block all the suspicious accounts — even those that “say things I agree with.” Bad actors will often use the same account to impersonate multiple people and use those false identities to stir up chaos on multiple user timelines. There’s no such thing as a good bot. Block them all.
- Pre-emptively block certain hashtags. Go to the search bar and type in the hashtags known to attract problematic people. Then go down the list and block them on sight. The beauty of this is that the people you’re blocking literally have no idea that you’ve even seen their accounts. You never have to deal with them at all. And you don’t have to block all the users who use those hashtags. Focusing on those account holders with large followings should do the trick. I started doing this about four years ago with the #MAGA, #KAG, and #Trump2020 hashtags. Then I went after all the #crypto and #forex enthusiasts. My timeline immediately looked less dumpster fire-y.
- Pre-emptively block problematic influencers/celebrities. If a celebrity/influencer hasn’t yet been canceled due to questionable statements (eg, Kanye during his “slavery was a choice” era), block them. While you’re at it, block their…