So you’re working hard to build your Twitter following. Every day you tweet sharp witticisms, helpful advice, and share links that you think your audience will find useful. And your results are paying off: more people have hit the “Follow” button every time you check. But as your subscriber list grows, you should beware of the dangers of a large following. Peril sometimes lurks between those single-sentence tweets.
For that reason, it’s smart to do a background check on the people who regularly follow you. By using a service like Instant Checkmate, you can easily find out if one of your followers has a criminal history.
Here are just four reasons you should know the criminal history of the people who listen in on your Twitter account.
1) Twitter Doesn’t Have Privacy Settings
Many people who use Twitter unfortunately treat it like Facebook. But users who can see the content you post on Twitter is much is much larger by design. While Facebook gives you a whole host of privacy features that allow you to fine-tune exactly who sees what you post, Twitter has none. This means that all of your content will be seen by each and every one of your followers, regardless of how well you know them. Doing a background check on your followers will give you a better idea of who is reading all your tweets.
2) Twitter Hackings Are Common
Think you’re impervious to getting your Twitter account hacked? So did the Associated Press, Jeep, and Burger King. The truth is that even Twitter accounts run by multi-billion dollar organizations get compromised, so it’s important that you be on the lookout for anyone who might be scoping you out. Some of your Twitter followers might be simply looking for a way to illicitly access your account. Background check them to see if they have a history of computer-related crimes.
3) Twitter Stalking
Most of your Twitter followers are probably simply interested in what you have to say every day. But others might have you in their feed for more nefarious purposes. Some people follow private Twitter accounts to get information about someone’s day to day routine in order to stalk them. Protect yourself against such social media creepers. If a background check shows that one of your followers has a history of abuse or other criminal behavior, block them immediately.
4) Twitter Scammers
Some of your followers might be using you to gain credibility. A number of schemers use the microblogging site in order to commit orchestrated frauds. They ultimately want to appear like a regular Twitter user to seem trustworthy, and then send other Twitter users (like you) links to phishing sites. Before they execute this scam, they take on the appearance of a legitimate Twitter account, complete with followed feeds.
Tweet With Caution
Twitter is a powerful platform because it gives you a global audience in seconds. That makes it a great way to connect you with people from all over the world, but it can also expose you to some not-so-friendly characters. By knowing exactly who is following you, and what their public records say about them, you can continue to build your online audience with confidence.
Fred Conrad is a writer from Pensacola, Florida. He writes about social media, internet security, and crime.