Like most forms of social media, Twitter is susceptible to abuse. Fortunately, the platform enables users to report tweets that violate Twitter’s Terms of Service. To report a tweet, you will need to take the following steps:
- Clicking the “…” icon on the tweet.
- Select, “Report” from the options that appear.
- From there, select, “It’s abusive or harmful.”
- Then you will be prompted to provide more information about why you are reporting the tweet. You can select additional tweets that violate Twitter’s rules if it will provide better context.
In this article we will discuss the types of Twitter violations, and how to report a tweet as well a Twitter account. We will also cover how long it takes for a report to be processed and how misinformation on Twitter can harm your reputation.
Types of Twitter Violations
Twitter is a large social media platform that uses “microblogging” to send and receive short posts called “tweets”. Tweets are made up of 280 characters that can include links and photos. Twitter has become popular with academics, students, policymakers, politicians, celebrities, businesses, and the general public.
While freedom of speech and expression are very important to the founders of Twitter, reporting content on the platform is an important tool to keep the platform safe for all users. The ability to report content on Twitter helps keep the social media platform an inviting place for people of all backgrounds to interact.
Twitter allows users to report individual tweets, lists, or profiles for violations of ‘Twitter’s Rules’ or Terms of Service.
If you see something on Twitter that violates the Twitter Rules, you can report it.
Some examples of content that violate Twitter’s Rules include:
- Abusive or harmful content,
- Terrorism and/or violent extremism,
- Child sexual exploitation,
- Inappropriate ads,
- Self-harm or suicide,
- Adult or graphic content,
- Impersonation of another,
- Trademark or copyright infringement,
- Intellectual property misappropriation,
- Private information/doxxing,
- Content from users younger than 13 years of age,
- Content that violates laws related to defamation (such as social media defamation), illegal activities, or national security.
In 2016, Twitter completed a total refresh of their abuse policy to better protect their users from harmful accounts and misinformation. The newly refreshed policy allows users to report abusive or harassing content that violates their policies.
Read on for information on how to report a tweet and Twitter account.
Does Reporting a Tweet Do Anything?
Yes! All reported tweets will be reviewed by the Twitter team. The review team will then determine whether or not action is necessary.
Twitter says: “If you see something that violates the Twitter Rules, the most important thing you can do is report it. Reporting helps signal to us that something is going on, and it helps us keep conversations on Twitter healthier in the long term. We can take action on individual tweets, Direct Messages, or accounts.”
In other words, Twitter takes rule violations seriously and reviews all reported content. Reporting an inappropriate or abusive tweet is not a futile effort – it helps Twitter maintain a safe environment for all users.
When reporting a tweet, Twitter does ask that you do not tag Twitter employees or Twitter account. Tagging employees will not escalate your report. The platform has a reporting process in place and they stress that users follow the procedures listed below to report tweets and Twitter accounts.
Online Extortion Tip: Whether you are dealing with extortion or sextortion on Twitter (or any website) there are some important tips to remember when dealing with the attack. First, document all evidence of the attack, including screenshots – in case the attacker later deletes their messages. Do not take preemptive measures to “control the narrative” on your own, you could make matters worse. Finally, do not give into an extortionist’s demands. You have legal options!
How to Report an Individual Tweet
With 500 million tweets being posted each day, you are bound to come across something offensive, negative, or abusive. If you see something that violates Twitter’s Rules, you should report it.
If you believe a tweet, list, or direct message are in violation of Twitter’s Rules or Terms of Service, you can report the tweet by following these steps:
- Login into your account (you must be a Twitter member to use the reporting feature, with the exception of reporting an impersonation account).
- Navigate to the tweet you would like to report.
- Tap the three little dots located at the top of the tweet.
- Select “Report Tweet.”
- If you select “It’s abusive and harmful” – Twitter will ask you to provide additional information. They may also ask you to select additional tweets from the account you are reporting so they have a better idea of what is going on and why you are reporting it.
- Twitter will include the text of the tweets you reported in their follow-up emails and notifications to you. You can opt-out from receiving this information by unchecking the box next to “Updates about this report can show these Tweets.”
- After you have reported the tweet, Twitter will provide recommendations for additional actions you can take to improve your overall Twitter experience.
It is important to note that you can still report tweets from an account that you have blocked or that have blocked you, but only if the offending tweet mentions you.
How Often Does Reporting a Tweet Result in the Tweet’s Deletion?
Reporting a tweet does not necessarily delete it. Once reported, the original tweet will be replaced with a notice stating that the tweet has been reported. You can still click through the notice and view the tweet if you wish.
Reporting a tweet, however, does not automatically result in suspension of the account in question. If you would like to learn more about the requests Twitter receives to remove tweets, view their Transparency Report here.
According to Twitter’s transparency report from January – June 2020, Twitter received reports on 1,940,082 accounts. Out of those reports, 925,744 accounts were suspended and 1,927,063 tweets and/or accounts were removed.
We also found an interesting experiment conducted by a group named Women, Action, & the Media (WAM!). WAM! teamed up with Twitter in 2014 to address online harassment. WAM! found that of the 161 reports that they submitted to Twitter, Twitter suspended 70 accounts, handed out 18 warnings, and deleted 1 account. WAM! estimated that Twitter took action on 55% of the reports.
According to their study, Twitter took action on these types of violations: doxxing, hate speech, threats of violence, posting false information (fake quotes, altered images), online impersonation, and revenge porn.
When You Report Someone on Twitter is it Anonymous?
Yes, all reports are kept anonymous. Any account or tweet that you report will not reveal information about who made the report. Likewise, if your account or content is reported, you will not know who submitted the report to Twitter.
The only thing Twitter will reveal is that the user’s tweet or account is being investigated. Twitter’s privacy policies protect its users, including those who submit reports.
Online Defamation Tip: The best way to protect yourself from an online defamer is to identify the person attacking you. If you are dealing with an anonymous defamer, it helps to start with a Google search. People often use the same screen-name across several platforms, so you may be able to uncover additional details simply by searching for their username. Conducting a Reverse Image Search on Google is another way to find out more information about a defamer. If they have a profile picture, a reverse image search of the image might locate additional accounts that you could use to uncover their true identity.
How to Report a Twitter Account
As a Twitter user, you have the option to report an entire Twitter account for violating the platform’s rules. For the sake of example, say you discover an account that is pretending to be you (an impersonation account). If the account is not satirical and actually attempts to fool others into thinking it is your actual account, you should report the account.
Likewise, if you discover an account that is being used to incite violence or promote hateful conduct, you can report the account for Twitter’s review. In January alone, Twitter made the news for banning thousands of accounts after violence in the U.S. capitol – out of fears the platform would be used to fuel future violence.
If you want to report someone’s entire Twitter account, here are the steps to follow:
- Log in to your Twitter account.
- Go to the account profile and click or tap the icon with the three little dots.
- Select, “Report.”
- Select “They’re being abusive or harmful.”
- You will then be asked to provide additional information about the issue you are reporting. Twitter may also ask you to select additional tweets from that account so they have a better idea of the context of the situation.
- Twitter will include the text of the tweets you reported in their follow-up emails and notifications to you. You can opt-out of receiving this information by unchecking the box next to “Updates about this report can show these Tweets.”
- After you have submitted the report, Twitter will provide additional recommendations to improve your Twitter experience.
If someone is engaging in harassing or abusive behavior, you can also use this form to report their account.
How Do You Find Out Who Owns a Twitter Account?
If you are in a situation where you do not know exactly who is behind a Twitter account, there are ways to find out who owns it. It is important to note, however, that Twitter will not release account information unless it is required by a valid legal process.
If you are dealing with a criminal matter, like child pornography or revenge porn, you will need to work directly with law enforcement to issue a subpoena to Twitter. A subpoena is a court order requiring an individual to produce evidence, appear in court, or testify. With a valid subpoena, Twitter will reveal the identity of the account-holder. We also recommend checking out our resources, “How to Report and Remove Child Porn From the Internet“, and “How to Deal with Sextortion on the Internet“.
If you are facing a civil matter like Twitter defamation or copyright infringement, you will have to work with a civil attorney to obtain a subpoena. Check out our article, “How to Identify Anonymous Posters Online” to learn more about obtaining subpoenas to uncover a poster’s identity.
In a nutshell, an attorney can help uncover the identity of an anonymous defamer by filing something known as a “John Doe lawsuit.” Since you do not know the defamer’s identity, a lawsuit is filed against “John Doe,” or a fictitious defendant. A John Doe lawsuit enables you to file your claim within the appropriate statute of limitations and starts the discovery process – wherein the anonymous defendant can be identified. We cover the topic of John Doe lawsuits and their applicability in the video below.
Video: What is a John Doe Lawsuit? How to Identify an Anonymous Attacker
How Long Does it Take to Remove Something From Twitter?
After you submit a report to Twitter, you will receive a confirmation message from Twitter within 24 hours. It may take up to 7 days for Twitter to review your report.
If Twitter determines that the reported account or tweet is violating its policies, they will take action. Twitter’s response may result in the account-holder receiving a warning. More serious violations can result in the permanent suspension of the account. Either way, you will receive a notification if an action is taken on an account that you reported.
Also, the original content of the reported tweets will be replaced with a notice saying it was reported, but you can click through and view the tweet if you wish. This notice will be displayed for 14 days after the tweet is deleted.
Why Does Twitter Sometimes Refuse to Remove a Reported Tweet or Account?
Twitter is a platform that thrives on user-generated content. They cannot and will not remove every tweet that may be offensive, but they do take content violations seriously. According to Twitter’s own policies, they will not remove content that meets certain conditions.
Based on our experience, here are some of those reasons that Twitter might decide not to remove a particular tweet:
- Freedom of speech – Twitter users have a right to express themselves freely.
- The content does not violate their Terms of Service or rules – Twitter may review the report and determine that it does not violate their rules or Terms of Service.
- Overlooked by Twitter’s staff – Due to the sheer volume of tweets and Twitter accounts that are reported daily, some reports may not be fully reviewed before a response is sent back to the user.
How Can Misinformation on Twitter Hurt Your Reputation?
The spread of misinformation on Twitter hurts everyone, but it can be particularly harmful to one’s reputation. Misinformation (or lies) can lead to many negative consequences, including:
- Loss of job opportunities or removal from your current position,
- Loss of customers or business,
- Threats by peers and other members of the community,
- Damage to your relationships, and/or
- Paranoia, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
If you have reported a tweet or a specific account to Twitter, but they have not removed or suspended the account in question, you may need to seek other legal remedies. This might include hiring an attorney to contact the account holder or file an online defamation lawsuit.
“Melanie was absolutely fantastic. Six years ago, someone wrote something terrible about me online and it followed me wherever I went! Jobs, relationships, etc. I finally got in touch with Minc, and Melanie was so courteous, professional, and diligent about getting the post removed. Thank God for Minc Law because I’m getting married next year, and I finally feel comfortable using my full name on my wedding announcements! Thank you, Minc!!!”
HCP, Sept 28, 2020
Minc Law has extensive experience going after individuals who make harmful and defamatory statements online. We have removed over 50,000 pieces of defamatory content from Twitter, social media platforms, and other websites. To learn more and set up a free consultation, fill out our online contact form, use our Live Chat feature, or call us at 216-373-7706.