How to Filter Out Spam Tweets

Tricks for clearing your small business Twitter feed

Young people on their phones with social media icons over their head
••• Getty Images / Petar Chernaev

When it comes to using social media for your small business, Twitter allows you to do more than just share information with consumers. It's also a great tool for keeping up with industry news and what your competitors are doing. Once you sign up, however, you may be surprised to find out how much clutter ends up directed toward your Twitter account. Sometimes this clutter comes in the form of too many tweets in your news feed; sometimes, it becomes worse, with accounts you don't know sending you pornography or spam. If you want to keep your Twitter account spam-free and focus on the needs of your business, you have several options for filtering out spam tweets and dealing with abusive accounts.

Report Individual Spam Tweets

If you receive a spam, abusive, or pornographic tweet—either from a real person or bot account—you can report the individual tweet. Navigate to the tweet you'd like to report and click on the downward-facing notch in the top right corner of the tweet. Select "Report Tweet" at the bottom of the drop-down menu that pops up. If you are reporting a tweet, you should screenshot it before submitting your report, just in case it later disappears.

Report a Spamming Profile

Sometimes the only way to clear bots from your Twitter notifications and messages is to report the whole account. This can also be done for accounts run by real people who are sending you abusive or inappropriate content. To report an account, visit the profile page and click on the more (three dots) icon at the top of the profile page. Select "Report" from the bottom of the menu. You should also take screenshots of any tweets or messages the account has sent to you, so you have a record to share with Twitter in case the user later deletes them.

Don't Be Afraid to Block

If you find that someone is sending you spam messages or inappropriate material, including inappropriate avatars, you have the right to block their account. Not only does this disable them from seeing your updates and clear them from your Twitter stream, but if enough people block a user, Twitter can suspend their account. To block another user, visit their profile page and click on the more (three dots ) icon at the top of the profile page. Select "Block" from the drop-down menu. As always, it is helpful to create a record of any abusive tweets or messages before you do this.

Prevent Hacking Using Two-Step Verification

One of the worst things that can happen to your Twitter business account, both from PR and privacy perspectives, is to be hacked. When this happens, someone else breaks into your account and takes over, posting whatever they want for your followers and the public to see. To protect your account from hackers, enable two-step verification. This means anyone trying to access your account will need more than just your password. They'll need your password and a unique code, usually sent directly to your mobile device, to access your account.

Tools for Saving Time on Twitter

The rapid pace, unpredictable content, and clutter of your Twitter feed may feel overwhelming at times. Luckily, there are tools for cutting through the noise, saving time, and making your presence there more beneficial to your business.

  • Use a Twitter scheduler: Many social media and Twitter scheduling tools, such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, allow you to filter tweets by users and topics. This can decrease the amount of spam that appears in your feed, and you can also use these programs to hide or follow specific hashtags so you don't miss conversations that are important for your business or industry.
  • Try a Twitter news app: News applications like Nuzzel comb through your Twitter feed to curate a list of industry news based on the interests you select. It puts tweets in an easy to read report, and you can choose to have the app send you notifications when something in your industry is being shared or discussed. 
  • Create Twitter lists: If you want to cut down on the number of accounts you follow or quickly find industry news without combing through dozens of tweets, you can add accounts to curated lists based on specific topics. These can be set to private or public; if you choose public, other users can follow your lists as well. To add an account to a list, visit the account's profile page and click on the more (three dots) icon at the top. Select "Add/remove from lists" from the drop-down menu.

The Bottom Line

Twitter has algorithms that help catch spam, but unfortunately, like most algorithms, they don't work all the time. Taking steps to keep your account uncluttered and spam-free will help you more effectively use Twitter to promote and grow your business.