Recently, I logged into my account. Twitter users know, this is not a frequent occurrence because most of us use third-party applications like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or any of the mobile apps. But it is a necessity, especially as an activist, in order to help keep the information on your account safe and secure.

The new twitter setting available is called, “Tweet Media,” and has two options. The first option is important to activists because selecting to check or uncheck this option will either display or not display media (i.e. videos and photos) determined by a user as ‘sensitive content.’ The second option available allows a user to set their account to be categorized as ‘sensitive content.’ Twitter gives this explanation: “If you tweet images or videos that may contain sensitive content, please check this box so that people can be warned before they see it.” Learn more »

Here are the steps to editing the settings to your twitter account:

Uploaded from flickr by WITNESS
Uploaded from flickr by WITNESS
  1. Login at
  2. Select ‘settings’ from the drop down menu available on your username
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the ‘Account’ tab.
  4. Review selections.

Suggested settings for activists (new settings in bold):

  • For Tweet Location:  uncheck ‘Add a location to your Tweets’
  • For Tweet Media:  check ‘Display media that may contain sensitive content’
  • For Tweet Media:  uncheck ‘Mark my media as containing sensitive content’
  • For Tweet Privacy:  leave this unchecked ONLY if you want your account to be public
  • For HTTPS Only:  check ‘Always use HTTPS’

Other settings that have been available, but an activist should review regularly:

  • Mobile tab:  if you use this to be able to SMS messaging be sure to uncheck ‘Let others find me by my phone number’
  • Applications tab:  review and revoke access to applications that you do not want to have access to your twitter account (check at least every two months)
  • Password tab:  change your password every one to two months


This post is part of our Human Rights Day Series: Resources for #Video4Change Activists. You can access other posts in the series here.

5 thoughts on “New Twitter Settings Activists Need To Be Aware Of

  1. If you DO tend to post sensitive content, I would suggest that you DO check the Tweet Media option “Mark my media as sensitive content”. The reason I do this is, the majority of twitter users accessing via web and mobile devices see images & videos unfiltered in their stream. No warning means exposing people to potentially upsetting or shocking images without letting them make that choice for themselves. Not only the users, but anyone else in viewing range, including minors, disapproving clients, co-workers or associates, and people who may need to be protected from exposure for various reasons.

    1. Should note that by default twitter does not ‘Display media that may contain sensitive content’ (this field is unchecked until user changes it). In which case, this means tweets marked as sensitive will not display by default in the new system.

      I totally agree that images/videos should be marked, but I recommend that users make sure the notification is in the actual tweet. Example: “@glauberibeiro Gay African Man Beaten, Burned Alive by Angry Mob (Extremely Graphic Video)…”

      Unfortunately, I don’t think the on/off method in user settings is the best option. Maybe if a user could mark ‘each’ tweet as either sensitive or not might be a better solution to this feature… what do you think?

    2. Twitter itself has certainly been encouraging people to mark e.g. graphic media as sensitive – since it is a first step at preventing gratuitous complaints from other users about media. But it does seem a little too broad to have it an account/user settings – I think Mari’s idea around an individual tweet level might be a way to do it.

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