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Twitter: Little Statements with Big Consequences for Companies, cont.

Earlier this week, I gave some advice on how to protect your business’s Twitter account. The hijacking of a Twitter account can have an incredibly negative impact on your business. If you missed it, review the advice I offered in my earlier post and consider these additional steps.

Watch out for strange emails

Twitter will never ask you to provide your password via email, a direct message, or @reply. Twitter will never ask you to download something or sign-in to a non-Twitter website. So, if you get an email or message prompting you to do any of these things, don’t. If you receive a suspicious email, delete it (preferably without opening) and immediately visit https://Twitter.com to change your password. Emails like this are “phishing” for personal, online information that they can use to hack into your accounts. If the folks at Twitter believe your account has been phished or hacked, they may reset your password to prevent access. In this event, they will email you a link to where you can reset the password on your own. The password reset link is always available on the Twitter website, so you can visit it directly.

In addition to watching out for strange emails, be sure to use caution when sending your own. It is good practice to verbally communicate the log-in information with those who have user-access. If your name and password are in an email, the email may be sent to the wrong person internally or may be accessed externally via hackers.

Keep your computer up-to-date

Company browsers and operating systems should always be updated with the most current versions. All computers should have some kind of program which protects against viruses, spyware, and adware. By keeping your software in good overall health, you make the chance of a Twitter hack less likely.

Be on the lookout for two-factor authentication

There are online accounts (Facebook, for example) which require or offer users the option of two-factor authentication. With the slew of recent Twitter hackings, Twitter will no doubt soon be offering two-factor authentication to increase its security. This two-factor authentication should be used by all businesses, if not also for personal accounts. Two-factor authentication is a process in which a user is sent a randomly generated code to enter along with their user name and password when logging in. This code can be sent via text message to users’ mobile phones. Thus, even if a hijacker discovers your password, access will be denied without the random code. Think of it as another lock on your company’s social media door.


If an errant tweet does make it onto your company’s Twitter feed, swift action is necessary. You should have a social media crisis plan in place so that the problem can be handled immediately and effectively. The plan may involve steps such as changing passwords, sending an email to clients and customers explaining your account has been compromised, or tweeting out an apology to followers.

A 140-character message can do a lot of damage to your business. Take preventive steps to curb the likelihood of this happening. Just like every company should have a lock on the front door, every social media account should be bolted with security to keep out evil-doers.

This article is intended as a summary of  state and federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

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