Many good Twitter members are sending Direct Messages (DMs) with links to sites and businesses other than their own, but do not realize it. Are you one of them?
Due to Twitter API permissions there are sites that you may have visited once or innocently signed up for – and are no longer even using – that can continue to use your information to send out their links and info in DMs that come from your Twitter account.
Before I tell you how to easily fix it please pause for a strong moment of cautionary advice. While the majority of the companies that use your account do so by gaining your permission in some way, this is also a tactic that phishers use. There are two steps that you can take to stay safe and help keep the people who follow you safe:
1. NEVER click on a link sent to you in a DM—unless you were expecting that link.
Example A : One of my trusted Twitter friends send me a link in a DM and tells me via phone, a tweet in the stream, an email, even in person to expect this specific link, which is identified in the DM tweet. This is a link I will open.
Example B: Same trusted Twitter friend send a link that looks really interesting, but that I was not informed to expect. I DM back and ask if the link is truly from them and do not click on that link until I have an affirmative reply.
2. ALWAYS inform anyone you send a DM with a link that you are sending such a DM.
Example: If you follow me you have occasionally seen this kind of a Tweet in my public timeline “@FictionalTwitterMember just sent you a DM with a link”
If your followers know that you will always inform then of any links you send in a DM, should you fall prey to a phisher, your followers will know not to click on any links that come to them your DMs unless you first tell them about it.
Log into your Twitter account and go to Settings. In settings Click on Connections.
Notice that every site listed has access to read and WRITE to your account. It is the WRITE part that is a problem. That means that the site has the opportunity to post to your account.
Many good sites and services do not take advantage of the Write opportunity to send links in your DMs or send their messages in your tweets. That Write factor is necessary so that the can gather and use your information exactly how you wish it to be used, including to simply verify your account so you can leave a comment or post a photo. I continue to grant access to about seven sites and services that I use, such as the sites of @wefollow, @mashable and @MrTweet, which is a good networking service that only tweets in the stream with one time permission for that event. I use buzzom.com to unfollow non followers who I’m not finding interesting (manually—I do not use bots on Twitter) and they are honorable (hence this unsolicited plug).
Other sites, such as True Twit Validation, Blip.fm continue to send links to their service via DMs that seem to be sent by you to your followers. This kind of thing happens to some really good Twitter members who sign in or sign up and think since they are not actively using the service they are done. Not true.
Less is more. If you are not sure about any service of site listed under Connections revoke the access. This will only affect the access from that service. You can always sign in again to it at a later time.
Why this Blog?
This blog was prompted by a number of followers who replied a DM from me that said something like, “Please stop sending me links in DMs. I never open them.” Some days, I just delete all the DMs with links (without reading them) but other times I fire off message like the one above.
What surprises me is that I get DMs in response that apologizes as people discover that their accounts are sending DMs with links.
My purpose here is simply to be helpful to my Twitter followers. I feel I have a relationship and responsibility to my followers who look at my stuff—just as I have a relationship as an artist to viewers and collectors of my art. I want you to live a more inspired, safer life where you are more of your authentic best self.
As an artist and inspirational write and speaker, I have no personal interest or ties to any of the social media apps or sites other than as a fan or member. Twitter is one of my favorite social media sites where I can share my art and the new Post Conceptual Art theory I am founding, plus make art, artists and fine art museums and non-profit spaces more relevant in people’s lives.
If you use a free service or site that shows up in your connections that you would recommend to others please add it to the comments below. I will check them out (due to spammers and phishers) and do my best to include the safe ones in the comments. This helps provide the Twitter community with a list that is freely open to all and can be used safely.
Thanks, and happy and safe Tweeting!
[Note: for more on DMs see: How to Deal with Thank You's in Twitter DMs – both Sending and Receiving ]
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]