Can I “delete” a follower on twitter?

Home Forums Citizen Engagement & Customer Service Can I “delete” a follower on twitter?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Teri Centner 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #147856

    Can someone offer advice, please? A new follower on twitter seems to be a porn site with a naked photo and the “f-word” in her profile. I just received the twitter e-mail notification of a new follower, can I do something before this profile appears under my followers?


    Mary Ann

  • #147870

    Thanks, Ross! I just followed your advice and twitter had already suspended the account, but I’ll know for next time.

  • #147868

    Chris Poirier

    ah the joys of cleaning out “bots”..I block and report as spam as many as five “bot-porn” accounts a day..the more you use your twitter account the more of these you’ll end up cleaning out every so often. Nature of the beast.

  • #147866

    Steve Radick

    Let me offer a counterpoint. I dealt with a similar situation with one of my clients a few years ago. A pornstar had followed their account (a DoD account dealing with wounded warriors) and they were worried, as you are, about the potential association with their government account. Unfortunately, as I pointed out to them, that pornstar is a person too. A U.S. citizen who may have a brother, dad, sister, etc. in the military who may be truly interested in learning more about the DoD. True, she may have just been a spammer, but what if they weren’t? What if she was truly interested in following that account because of the information they were sharing? Isn’t the government supposed to be serving all of its citizens? Is there a reason to discriminate against her just because I may disagree with her occupation?

    I’m not saying this is the situation you’re dealing with and most often, it IS is just a spambot that you can block, but this is definitely something you (and all of government) should be aware of before blocking someone.

  • #147864

    Jeffrey Levy

    I would recommend not worrying about it. Yes, you can block accounts, but you don’t control who follows you, they choose to follow you. It says nothing about you if certain accounts follow you.

    On a different note, don’t you have better things to do than clean out your follower list?

    I only report spammers if they actually say something to me @levyj413, and we never bother cleaning out followers on EPA’s main Twitter account, @epagov.

  • #147862

    Local governments are very sensitive to constituent complaints. In a conservative, anti-government environment I can’t take any risks. If a municipal council member, not that familiar with twitter, saw a close-up photo of a naked bottom on my profile page, clicked on that naked bottom and read the explicit description of the services offered, he or she may not bother to think that it was just someone following me. We could lose that working agreement and not only would the twitter acct be closed, but there could be lay offs due to reduced funding. We are a very small, local agency with not many followers so that profile picture would appear for awhile.

    And yes, I do have better things to be doing. At the time, I was writing an article for a township newsletter, putting out my own newsletter, updating the Web site and dealing with two other local agencies on a possibly negative media issue. That is why I came to this community to ask how to deal with this; I had no time to figure it out.

    I found GovLoop through one of your tweets Mr. Levy. Finally, I wasn’t out here alone trying to figure it all out by myself. And there was a connection, however tenuous, when I stumbled on your twitter acct. I thought here is someone I can learn from. EPA makes clean water regs, enforced by our state EPA, and often carried to landowners by the ground troops of local soil and water conservation districts. Frankly, Mr. Levy the tone of your reply makes me feel like the general just laughed at the foot soldier who slipped in the mud.

  • #147860


    Hi Mary Ann! If you want to stop someone from Following you, you can go up to the top right of one of their tweets on your page & I believe a little dropdown menu is there. Click-on the dropdown menu & you will find BLOCK SO & SO (THEIR TWITTER NAME). Also, if you’ve Followed someone unintentionally, type in their Twitter name in the Search box at the top of the page. You will be taken to their page. Next to their picture & profile at the top of their page, on the right side; put the mouse arrow on the space to the right & click-on Unfollow. There are also other areas, I believe where you can find the term Block this user, or, Unfollow so & so (their Twitter name). This is the best way that I can explain things without actually looking at a Twitter page to know for sure where these things can be found. If you have any problems, just post here, & I’ll receive your reply in my email & I can help you further.

  • #147858

    Jeffrey Levy

    Wow, did I blow that one. First, I’m sorry for the delay in responding – I’ve been on vacation for the past week.

    Second, I’m very sorry for how I came across. By no means did I mean to belittle your question; it’s a common one. Rather, I was trying to help you by pointing out why I wouldn’t (and don’t) worry about inappropriate followers. As you point out, you’re crazy busy, and although I was hamhanded in how I put it, my intention was to say you’ve got more important work to focus on than cleaning spammers out of your follower list. If someone were to challenge me about a follower, or to challenge an EPA account, I’d take the opportunity to explain how Twitter works and why it’s valuable.

    But you certainly know your operating environment better than I do. In fact, I repeatedly stress that point: what works for one agency might not work for another because of differences in mission, working culture, comfort level and knowledge of management (or other critical stakeholders like council members) with how social media works, etc. So if you’re in a situation where one person’s misunderstanding could lead to your being laid off, then certainly, block inappropriate followers.

    To that end, and to respond to Steve’s point: it’s usually relatively easy to distinguish a true spammer. The spammers usually follow a zillion people without being followed, and their tweets are usually all the same. When I do notice one, I report it as spam, which blocks the account from following me.

    If you’re still reading, and I haven’t completely blown my credibility with you, please allow me to suggest that you talk to critical stakeholders now, before anything unfortunate happens. Because guaranteed, someday, someone will misunderstand. At that point, what will help you is your effort to help important folks understand why you’re using social media, what benefits accrue, and what you’re doing to mitigate the risks that do exist. That’s why I go around to EPA management groups and give them presentations. It’s the first presentation I listed in “Social Media: Resources for Beginners” (and also feel free to use anything else there you find useful, of course).

    Finally, please allow me to disavow the idea that I’m a a general, you’re a foot solider, or that in some way I’m worthy of any more respect than you. We’re both learning how all of this stuff works, and I try to explain that in my post “Why I Squirm at Being Called a Social Media Expert“.

  • #268379

    Teri Centner

    I find it interesting that this discussion has come around again. Only the phrase “freedom of speech” never came up in this conversation.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  Teri Centner. Reason: forgot to include link

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