Friday 17 February 2012

The Twitter followers you don't want

Have you noticed that recently more and more "dodgy" people have tried to follow you on Twitter? Often people who use the "F" word in their biography  - not really the sort of person most compers expect to chat to on a regular basis!

Several people have asked me what they can do  about them and other unwanted followers, and whether there is a way to force somebody to unfollow you.

The answer is, there is no good way for a comper to prevent somebody following them. if you are NOT a comper, read on - I've got better news  for you later! So what do you do when one of these "ladies" follows you?


Don't go and look at their Twitter page, don't follow them back and under NO circumstances  click on any links in their message or their bio. They want you to either follow them back so they can send you direct messages advertising the sort of services they wouldn't be allowed to openly advertise on Twitter, or to go to websites which will be pay-to-subscribe sites that contain the sort of material which really isn't very apt, original and amusing and doesn't give away any prizes! In fact Twitter picks up accounts like this and closes them down very quickly - so quickly that if you have your Twitter account set up to send you an email whenever somebody follows you, in the few minutes it takes between them following you and when the email would have gone out, the lady in question has lost her account and the email never gets sent. So if you are at all worried about possibly being followed by such people, you might feel happier only ever checking the emails from Twitter and not actually looking at your followers list online.

What about other people who follow you that you don't want to see? Spammers, people you dislike or people you are simply not interested in. Well, once again, the most sensible thing to do is ignore them. If you are not following them back, they can't send you direct messages, but they would still be able to read your tweets and send you @ messages even if they weren't following you, so it makes no difference to you. And of course if you are getting close to following 2,000 people, you need all the followers you can get so that you will be able to carry on following new people - you can read about Twitter's following limits in "Getting round Twitter's following limit"

You might decide  to block somebody you really dislike - but did you realise that although somebody you have blocked can't follow you or send you @ messages, they can still read and retweet your tweets?

If you protect your tweets, it means that only people who you have approved can follow you and see your tweets. But if you are a comper, you should never do this  because promoters won't know you have entered their competitions, so you will never win  anything!

There is a service available called True Twit which sends your new followers a message asking them to visit a website to prove they are real. If you are not a comper, this could be useful to you, but if you ARE a comper I would caution you against using it. This is because very often, the promoter of a competition will follow you so that you can send them a direct message with your name and address. In fact sometimes the first inkling you get that you have won is when the promoter of a newly-closed competition follows you. But if they get a True Twit validation message, they are very likely to decide that it is all to much trouble, and drop the idea of giving you the prize, redrawing the winner and following them instead. So if you use True Twit, you could miss out on a fair proportion of your potential wins.

It is a better service if you are not a comper, but even then you might have reservations about it. The Premium service, which allows registered users to bypass having to validate themselves to other people, costs a measly little $20.00 a year - many spammers would think this was a small investment for a service that makes them look "authentic" and leads people to trust them!

In summary, the best thing to do about unwanted followers of any kind is to ignore them. if they like what you are saying, they will keep following. if they don't, they'll go away. Think of Twitter as being like a crowded train, and your followers as the other passengers. You can't get rid of them, but they have as much right to be there as you have, and you're not obliged to interact with them. And eventually they will get off, or you will all reach your destination without troubling each other.


  1. oh im sick of getting followed by certain bap showing women all i do is block and report for spam and ignore not alot else you can do. Just a shame these types are ruining twitter :(

  2. @needaphone Cracking post since I dropped this service on your advice I have won more xx

  3. May I also say that some words trigger the avalanche of porn followers. So perhaps the best way is to avoid using them altogether. For example, we had a laugh with someone about me being anti-Tiger mother, and she used the word pussycat. That was it, like a red flag, immediately there was a line of followers who offered me all kinds of disgusting proposals. Even the word "followers" is not innocent,as then they start saying Ah, you wnat followers, here blah-blah... I guess we have to be very careful and not use certain words-triggers. But I do hate these people, they are so invasive.

  4. Other trigger words are iPad and the word spam itself. And words describing any medical condition -I can guarantee a flurry of new followers every time I mention diabates or fibromyalgia. Nostly offering miracle cures but a few genuine ones too and in fact I've followed one or two back and found them useful.
    They seem to have real-time searches running to auto-follow and tweet anyone who uses the terms. But they go away again soon enough when they see you aren't interested.


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