What Does the Lock Mean on Twitter?

Twitter ranks amongst the most-used social media platforms in the world. With over 192 million active users in 2020, Twitter is the perfect avenue for businesses and individuals alike, allowing them to join in on conversations that matter to them, tweeting, retweeting, following each other, and reaching out to a wider audience. But not all accounts are completely open to the public. 

Users who come across the padlock symbol on Twitter are left confused as to the meaning of it all, and why they aren’t able to access tweets from that account. Well, here’s everything you need to know about it and how you may be able to benefit from having your tweets locked as well. 

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What does the Twitter lock mean?

In simplest terms, the Twitter lock icon means that the account is protected. As such, the tweets from that account cannot be viewed unless you have been approved by the account holder to view them. This is an optional privacy feature used by both businesses and individuals to protect their tweets and choose who gets to view and engage with them. 

What are protected Tweets?

When you sign up on Twitter, your account is public by default. Anyone and everyone can see your tweets, retweet, reply, tag photos – all that good stuff. But if your account is protected, so are your tweets and your activities. Protected tweets will have a lock icon next to your username.

Only those people that you approve specifically will be able to view your tweets, no one else. However, there is nothing keeping your followers from copying the contents of your tweet and posting them somewhere else.  

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How to make your Twitter account private

If you are just learning about the protected Tweets feature and want to make your Twitter account private, here’s how you can do so. 

Open the Twitter app and tap on the three horizontal lines at the top left corner. 

Tap on Settings and privacy.

Tap on Privacy and safety.

Now, toggle On Protect your Tweets

And just like that, you have a private Twitter account. One thing to note here is that only your future tweets will be protected and have the lock icon next to them. All previous tweets will still be available for the world to see. 

If you ever want to revert this process, just go back to the same option and toggle it Off. 

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Pros and Cons of a private Twitter account

Having a private Twitter account isn’t recommended for everyone. For instance, a business looking to increase its reach and promote its services will not benefit at all from a private Twitter account. No potential client will be able to view their Twitter updates and it is quite limiting to approve followers one by one. For businesses, especially, it is better to leave the account public. 

On the other hand, individuals who are reluctant to have their tweets out in the open will benefit a great deal from a private Twitter account. No tweet you send after enabling Tweet protection will appear in search results. This makes it easy for users to send tweets that contain sensitive information. On top of that, it gives you complete control of who gets to see your tweets as it is up to you to accept or reject someone’s follow request. 

The option to make your Twitter account private is a useful feature for some, but it is not meant for everyone. Only those individuals who want complete control of who gets to see and engage with their tweets should turn this feature on. For everyone else, this feature is better off turned off.