If you are a regular user of Twitter, you may randomly discover one day that your Twitter account has been hacked. This involves unusual and often short tweets being sent directly to your followers, using their @ Twitter handle and including a question designed to drive followers to the accompanying link. Fear not -such spam is usually harmless and the issue is easily rectifiable.

There are several reasons why your Twitter account may send unauthorised, unexpected tweets. Most often the culprit is a third party application which has been inadvertently authorised to access your account. It is important for Twitter to be able interact with other platforms to enhance its functionality. In doing so, each of these programs will have access to your account. While most of these are legitimate, sometimes a third party will surreptitiously request this authorisation – and you will probably approve it. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us and is easy to manage.

You can review the list of sites or programs that have authorisation to your account by going to https://twitter.com/settings/applications. Most of these are fine to authorise. If you use the Twitter app on your smart phone and tablet, you have authorised two different programs, but these are safe connections. Revoke access immediately if there is anything in this list you don’t recognise or are suspicious about.

Is there a chance that a third party may know your password? You should update it regularly and ensure your linked email account is secure. If the posts continue, scan your computer for viruses and malware.

From a business perspective, social media can be a challenging platform to manage. You may be liable for any content posted through your account. Make sure there is a policy on who will monitor the social media accounts, so you’re ready to respond if need be.

To find out more about revoking password access visit https://support.twitter.com/articles/76052, while general information on compromised accounts can be found at https://support.twitter.com/articles/31796.

If you have any questions or are unsure about the legalities surrounding social media, intellectual property or the use of your content contact

Jeremy Weeks
Lawyer
Harwood Andrews
03 9611 0159
jweeks@harwoodandrews.com.au