By default, when you Tweet, you’re broadcasting it to the world. You could make a bad joke to your 170 followers, get on a plane, and by the time you land, find out your Tweet went viral and now you’re out of a job—that’s literally what happened to Justine Sacco. Whatever you say on Twitter is in the public record. That is, unless you make your Twitter account private.

On Twitter, Tweets are either Public or Protected. Public Tweets can be seen by everyone. Protected Tweets can only be seen by that person’s followers; they can’t even be Retweeted. If you change your account from Public to Protected, all your previous Tweets become Protected too.

How to Protect Your Twitter Account

Log in to Twitter and then head to the Settings page. You can get there by clicking on the small circular profile picture icon in the top right and then clicking Settings and Privacy.

Next, from the menu on the left, select Privacy and Safety.

Then check the checkbox that says Protect My Tweets.

Scroll down to the bottom and click Save Changes.

Finally, enter your password and click Save Changes again.

And that’s it, your account is now private.

How to Approve New Followers

With a private account, new people won’t be able to follow you. Instead, they’ll have to send you a Follow Request. When that happens, you’ll get a notification.

Click View Now to see a list of all your pending Follow Requests.

You can then Accept or Decline them as you want.

Protecting your Tweets changes the way you use Twitter. It’s no longer a public discussion forum. It’s just a place for you and your Followers. This means that if you reply to an account that isn’t following you—even if it’s a public account—they won’t see your Tweet. This is the trade off with turning your account private.

Profile Photo for Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero.
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