What to do if your Twitter account gets hacked
Using ManageFlitter for Twitter
I woke up one morning to find my Twitter account "hacked". Instead of having 0 Following and 0 Followers as was the case the night before suddenly there were 210 people I was supposed to be following! Thanks to ManageFlitter (I'm using the free version) I managed to remove all of them. Twitter suspected unusual activity and asked to change my password, which I did.
But despite this, the next morning I woke up to find another 150 Twitter accounts which I was supposed to be following, many of them in Arabic, Turkish and Japanese - languages which are Greek to me! Again I used ManageFlitter to remove all of them so I am back to 0 Following.
That same evening I found that there were 319 new sham "Followings" - people I was supposed to be following and I tweeted: "It's getting worse and worse! I'm now supposed to be following another 319 Twitter accounts when I didn't pick a single one of them!"
There are a number of possible reasons for this intrusion into my Twitter account despite the fact that the password has been changed. The most likely reason (I learnt from this informative article by Diana Adams entitled Why You Are Following People On Twitter Who You Didnít Follow) is that I have given permission to access my Twitter account to some apps. As a matter of fact I was really surprised that I had unwittingly given permission to some apps not only to read but also to write into my Twitter account (as can be seen from the screenshot below). This happened because when I installed those apps I just clicked on "Agree" without realizing that I was agreeing to give them permission to write into my Twitter account. From now on the only app that I will allow to write into my Twitter account will be ManageFlitter (for obvious reasons, otherwise they won't be able to do their work!)
By revoking the access (and thereby putting an end to the permissions I had given them earlier) I hope there will now be an end to the "hacking" of my Twitter account and I will not be forced to follow strange people in all kinds of strange languages.
(To see a list of all the apps that can access your Twitter account go to Profile - Settings and from the vertical menu on the left go down till you find Apps)
This is what another guy who had the same problem wrote to Diana Adams in her article on the subject mentioned earlier. So don't be too surprised if it should happen to you one day. But at least you will know what to do!
The above suspicions were confirmed when I later did some checking to find out who the "hackers" were. You can find out who has been posting into your Twitter account by clicking on your profile image, then Settings and from the vertical menu on the left go down and click on "Your Twitter data". You have to confirm your password. That done you will see a page with your personal particulars as well as your "Login History" (see screenshot below).
It is from here that I learnt that, apart from ManageFlitter - which is legitimate - the "hackers" (though it is more than likely to be an automated program) that infiltrated my Twitter account came from Klout, Pinterest, Twitter Gazebo and "Twitter for Windows Phone" users from some 60 different countries of the world. Mind-boggling!
Making use of ManageFlitterTo make use of ManageFlitter, you will first have to open an account with them at their website here and then log in to the same website each time you need to make use of it. Once you click on the button "Connect to Twitter" it will start scanning your Twitter account and after a minute or two you will be able to see a list of people that you will be able to "unfollow" (as in screenshot below). If this does not happen, click on "Manage" in the top menu bar, then "Unfollow".
On the right you will see that "Batch Select" is ON as I have over 300 Twitter accounts to unfollow but if you have only a dozen or so you might want to put it on OFF.
On the left you will see various options such as "Not Following Back", "No Profile Image", Non-English, Fake (Spam) or Inactive with their explanations appearing when you put your mouse over them. By clicking on each of them in turn you will see the Twitter accounts that you are "following" (or supposed to be following) under that category.
By default they will come up with a list of people who are not following you back (this is normally a hint that they shouldn't be there because if they don't follow you in return there is no reason why you should follow them). Of course among the people in this list there could be a number of celebrities like Rihanna or Neymar of whom you are a fan and whom you are following eagerly without expecting them to follow you back! So you will not touch on these. But there will be other people perhaps who somehow managed to sneak in without your knowledge or permission. In such a case all you have to do is to click on the tiny square to the left of the miniature profile picture. When you do this a tiny red cross will appear in the box (see screenshot below):
You might be following a number of people so spend some time on this. In my case I started by ticking each of the 319 people one by one but I didn't have to as there is a "Select All Accounts" box above (not easily visible though as it is light grey in colour). When you are through, click on the "Unfollow" button to the right of the page.
This will open up a new page (as screenshot below). All you have to do now is to click on "Process Now". You will be asked to tweet the number of accounts that are going to be removed by them. There is no obligation for you to do so but there is no harm giving ManageFlitter some publicity for all the services they've just offered you for free!
But unless you are willing to pay for the service, you will have to remove each account manually. Click on the Unfollow box to the left of the profile name (see screenshot below). Luckily you can keep your mouse on the same spot and just keep on clicking again and again as the next account will move up to the same spot that the earlier account that has just been removed occupied. Even if there are 300 accounts you can do this very fast. And that's all there is to it - you've tidied up your Twitter page without any fuss, thanks to ManageFlitter.
Go here to sign up for ManageFlitter.