How to Stop Strangers From Following You on Twitter

Keep random people out of your Twitter feed

illustrated birds and chat bubbles

Roy Scott / Getty Images

Twitter is a popular social networking and microblogging platform that lets you share your thoughts, follow your interests, send messages, and more. You may enjoy interacting with a wide variety of people, or you may prefer to share your thoughts only with people you know. If you have a public Twitter account, some of your followers may be complete strangers.

Here's a look at why total strangers might be following you on Twitter, how to get rid of followers you don't know, and how to stop strangers from following you in the first place.

Your Twitter followers are people who receive your tweets. If someone follows you, they'll show up in your followers' list, they'll see your tweets in their timeline when they log in to Twitter, and you can start a private conversation with them.

Why Are Strangers Following You?

There are many reasons for someone you don't know to follow you on Twitter. They may admire and connect with your wit, point of view, and humor, or they may have you confused with someone else.

Sometimes a random person might follow you in order to get a follow in return. This is a common practice for people who want to build up their followers. More followers means more visibility, whether you just want attention or genuinely have something to promote.

But not all random people have innocuous reasons for following you on Twitter. Hackers and internet criminals may send out malicious Twitter bots to follow you. Malicious bots spread links to malware. These links are often disguised as shortened links so that the dangerous link is obscured from view.

Before you click on a random short link on Twitter, use a link expansion service to inspect it so you can decide whether its destination is somewhere you really want to go.

Random followers might also be spammers, who use every possible avenue, including Twitter feeds, to spread their messages. Spammers follow a massive number of accounts hoping for follow-backs, increasing their audience.

Once you report a tweet as spam, Twitter blocks the user from following you or replying to you but doesn't automatically suspend the account.

It's easy to report spammers to Twitter. Select Followers from your Twitter home page, and then select the button to the left of the Follow button and choose Report.

Stop Strangers From Following You on Twitter

When you sign up for Twitter, your tweets are public by default, which means that anyone can follow you, view your tweets, and interact with you.

To stop strangers from following you, you'll need to set your Twitter account to private. When set to private, you’ll receive a request when new people want to follow you, and then you can approve or deny the request.

Here's how to set your Twitter account to private instead of public:

  1. Open Twitter and select the Settings (gear) icon.

  2. Select Privacy and Safety.

  3. Toggle on Protect your Tweets.

  4. Select Done.

    Twitter privacy settings
  5. Your tweets will appear only to people who follow you, and if anyone wants to follow you, you have to approve them.

    To approve or deny follower requests, go your Twitter profile. Select Followers > Pending follower requests to view the people who have requested to follow you. Select Accept or Decline.

How to Remove a Twitter Follower

Your first course of action is removing an undesirable Twitter follower, which you can do from the web. Here's how.

  1. On the web version of Twitter, click Profile.

    The "Profile" link on Twitter for the web
  2. Click Followers.

    The Followers link on Twitter
  3. Click the three-dot menu next to the follower you want to remove.

    The three-dot menu by a Twitter follower
  4. Select Remove this follower.

    The "Remove this follower" command on Twitter for web
  5. Followers you remove this way won't receive a notification that you've done so, but they can still see your feed if they go to your profile.

Block a Twitter Follower

Removing a follower doesn't stop them from re-following you later. In this case, you'll need to take stronger measures to remove yourself from their timeline. If a stranger (or someone you know) is following you on Twitter and you want to block them:

  1. Select the down arrow icon located at the top of a Tweet from the account you wish to block.

  2. Select Block.

    blocked account on Twitter
  3. Select Block again to confirm. Now the blocked account can't follow you or view your tweets.

Use a service such as StatusPeople's Fake Follower Check to see what percentage of your followers are fake, real, or inactive.

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