About public and protected Tweets

What is the difference between public and protected Tweets?

  • When you sign up for Twitter, your Tweets are public by default; anyone can view and interact with your Tweets. Should you choose to protect your Tweets, you can do so through your account settings.
  • If you protect your Tweets, you’ll receive a request when new people want to follow you, which you can approve or deny. Accounts that began following you before you protected your Tweets will still be able to view and interact with your protected Tweets unless you block them. Learn more about blocking.

Who can see my Tweets?

  • Public Tweets (the default setting): Are visible to anyone, whether or not they have a Twitter account.
  • Protected Tweets: May only be visible to your Twitter followers.

Note: If you have authorized a third-party application to access your account, that third-party application may be able to see your protected Tweets. Keep in mind that when you choose to share content on Twitter with others, this content may be downloaded or shared.

When you protect your Tweets

  • You’ll receive a request when new people want to follow you, which you can approve or deny.
  • Your Tweets, including permanent links to your Tweets, will only be visible to your followers.
  • Your followers will not be able to use the Retweet icon  to Retweet or Quote Tweet your Tweets.
  • Protected Tweets will not appear in third-party search engines (like Google search).
  • Your protected Tweets will only be searchable on Twitter by you and your followers.
  • Replies you send to an account that isn’t following you will not be seen by that account (because only your followers will see your Tweets).

Note: When you share a link in a protected Tweet, it is automatically processed and shortened to an http://t.co link. Please note that anyone with a t.co shortened link will be able to navigate to the destination URL.

What happens when I change my Tweets from public to protected?

If you at one time had public Tweets (before protecting your Tweets), those Tweets will no longer be public on Twitter, or appear in public Twitter search results. Instead, your Tweets will only be viewable and searchable on Twitter by you and your followers.

What happens when I change my Tweets from protected to public?

Unprotecting your Tweets will cause any previously protected Tweets to be made public.

What happens when I share media in a protected Tweet?

If your Tweets are protected, only your followers will be able to see your media in your Tweets. Please note that your followers may download or re-share links to media that you share in protected Tweets. Links to media shared on Twitter are not protected. Anyone with the link will be able to view the content.

What happens when my Tweets are protected but still show in search engine results?

  • After you protect your Tweets, only you and your followers can read your updates or see your Tweets in Twitter search.
  • If you at one time had public Tweets (before protecting your Tweets), those Tweets will no longer be public or appear in public Twitter search results. However, unprotecting your Tweets will cause any previously protected Tweets to be made public.
  • Find out how to remove your updates from Google search. Twitter does not have the ability to remove content on websites other than twitter.com.

What If my Tweets have never been public?

  • If your Tweets have never been public (i.e., you've always had your Tweets protected in your settings), your updates should never show up in Twitter search or other public search engines.
  • If they are showing up in search results, change your password immediately and revoke untrusted third-party applications. You can also file a report with the following information:
    • When this started happening
    • Where you've seen your private updates posted (Twitter search, Google, etc.)
    • List any/all third-party applications you use

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