Preventing Twitter Impersonators

I love Twitter. I am a very active user of Twitter. I have made so many real connections there. This past summer I had some very bad family stuff go down, and my Twitter friends helped and supported me so much. I can't even express how grateful I am for the people I've met there.

But while Twitter is the best of the internet, it is also the worst as well.  Having a public, unlocked account allows me to interact with new people, but it also gives any teenage boy with an internet connection the ability to call me names.  

I have been watching the Gamergate bullshit that has been going on, 4chan trying to impersonate feminists to discredit the movement and the harassment of the #notyourgoodfatty hashtag prior to that. 

It's infuriating. Twitter refuses to do anything to help us. Twitter clearly doesn't care about marginalized people being harassed and threatened on their platform.

What can we do? If you are concerned about this kind of harassment, you should check out The Block Bot which auto blocks some of the worst (known) offenders.  Block Together lets you block accounts that are less than 7 days old & less than 15 followers, which helps with the worst of the Reddit/4chan sockpuppet accounts.

I would also like to suggest that if you are using an account name with either an uppercase i or lowercase L, that you lock down possible impersonator accounts yourself, because you never know.

Why do this-- Because of the font Twitter uses, an uppercase i & a lowercase L look exactly the same. My Twitter acct name is Artists_Ali.  All someone has to do is get the same Twitter name, swap out an uppercase i for the L, then download the photo that I am using as my user photo from my account (which Twitter could fix, but doesn't), and then they can go around pretending to be me. 

As I learned earlier this year, if you have an impersonator, do not expect Twitter to help you because they won't.  The best you can do at that point is request that the account is added to the Block Bot, which is not run by Twitter. 

You can pick a new user name that doesn't have an i or an L in it. Or you can register a new Twitter account swapping out the i and the L. 

How to do this-- You can't reuse the same email account for a new Twitter, but it's easy enough to get another account on gmail.

If you already have a Gmail account, then it's super easy.  Gmail doesn't recognize periods in their email accounts as different accounts, but Twitter does.

So if you normally use the email, Twitter will let you use as a different account, but the emails will go straight to your normal gmail.

My Twitter.

My Twitter.

The Twitter I registered to protect my user name. 

The Twitter I registered to protect my user name. 

If you post occasionally to this account every few months, if shouldn't flag as inactive.

This will not stop you from being harassed on Twitter, but it could be a little bit of harm reduction.