Unfollowing, Blocking, and Reporting for Spam on Twitter


In our previous post, How to Get Followers – Create Twitter Lists, we talked about how to increase your number of followers on Twitter by creating named lists of your followers. By the way, we go into much more detail about our Infinite Pipeline Relationship Development process in our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for B2B Sales Success – Sales Person Edition. See the bottom of this post for more info.

In this post, we continue the Twitter series, and what to do when someone follows you that you do not want to be associated with.

AttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by Vernon Dali

Unfollowing, Blocking, and Reporting for Spam

If you don’t want a particular person to follow you — perhaps because you don’t want to be associated with them, or they’re a little creepy — you can block them. Blocking’s a bit drastic. Perhaps you just don’t want to see their tweets anymore. You may just want to unfollow them. To unfollow a user, go to your main Twitter page and click the “Following” link and select “View as a List of People.” This brings you to a list of the people you are following.

Twitter unfollow follower

Figure 49 — Unfollowing People on Twitter

Find the person you want to unfollow, and click the Follow button to unfollow them. You can also use the dropdown to see various actions you can take, including mentioning, adding to a list, blocking, and reporting them.

If you really want to block the person from following you, you can select “Block.” The block takes immediate effect, although you’ll see an Undo link in the listing if you change your mind. You can also block a user by visiting their Twitter page and clicking “Block.”

Twitter doesn’t notify the blocked user, although they may notice they no longer can view your tweets in their timeline, but they will be able to view them on your public profile page. The main benefit is that they can no longer direct message you (we discuss direct messaging in the next section.) If the blocked user tries to follow your tweets again, Twitter displays a message similar to the following figure.

Twitter blocked user message

Figure 50 — Twitter Blocked User Message

You may also want to report users for spamming. This is a good idea if, for example, you and another user are mutually following each other, and they start direct messaging spam to your account.

Here’s what Twitter considers to be spamming behavior:

  • Posting harmful links (including links to phishing or malware sites)
  • Abusing the @reply function to post unwanted messages to users
  • Creating lots of accounts or using automated tools to create multiple accounts
  • Spamming trending topics to try to grab attention
  • Repeatedly posting duplicate updates
  • Posting links with unrelated tweets
  • Aggressive following behavior (for instance, mass following and un-following in order to gain attention)

To report this type of abuse, select Report for Spam either in your list of followers or on the user’s Twitter page. Reporting a user blocks them from following you and flags them for Twitter to review. A single report is not likely to cause Twitter to take action against the accused spammer. Here’s Twitter’s current statement about reporting spammers:

Twitter’s Trust and Safety Team looks at user reports of spam in combination with other signals for spam investigation. You may not immediately or definitely see this account suspended. Once you’ve reported an account as spam, it is no longer able to follow you or reply to you.

Next up: Twitter Commands and Twitter Glossary


Unfollowing, Blocking, and Reporting for Spam on Twitter is the 107th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 300. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

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About NextPhase Selling

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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