Twitter is concerned for Ukrainians’ safety.
That’s the takeaway following a late Wednesday Twitter thread from the company, written in Ukrainian, instructing users how to lock down and protect their accounts. Set against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian invasion of the country, the message is clear: These days, keeping yourself safe also means securing your digital accounts.
This message is doubly important for any anti-war activists or protestors (past or present) attempting to coordinate efforts online. As we saw in the U.S. during 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement and corresponding marches, law enforcement can and will use social media against peaceful protestors.
Translated from the original Ukrainian by Twitter’s integrated Google translation tool, Wednesday’s Twitter thread provides step-by-step instructions for anyone worried that past information shared online could put them in jeopardy.
“When using Twitter in conflict or other high-risk areas, you need to know how to manage your profile and digital information,” began the first of many tweets (translated into English by Google) from Twitter’s safety team written in Ukrainian.
The thread continued on for 21 more tweets, each linking out to detailed account security instructions and general cybersecurity best practices.
“Setting up two-factor authentication ensures that outsiders can’t access your profile,” reads one such tweet (again, translated from Ukrainian by Google).
“If you think it’s safest to delete your Twitter profile, you must first deactivate it,” cautioned another. “After that, your username, profile, and tweets will not be displayed unless you reactivate them within 30 days.”
“You may want to hide not only your home address but also other locations when posting tweets, so be careful,” warned one.
From 2011’s Arab Spring to 2021’s January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building, social media has played an undeniably powerful real-time role in unfolding global conflicts and will continue to do so. Twitter knows this, and Wednesday’s thread is a clear attempt to make sure the people of Ukraine know it, too — before it’s too late.