Can You See A Private Twitter Account Without Following?

Twitter is an ample social media space for sharing short messages with your friends and followers. If you want to share your tweets publicly, you can. However, all Twitter users also can set their profile to private, allowing only approved followers to view their tweets. What recourse do you have to view private tweets without following the tweeter?

If you want to see the private Twitter account’s tweet, unfortunately, you do have to follow them and wait to be approved. However, this is not a solution for many. Perhaps, you have an old friend or an ex that you want to keep an eye on from a distance and do not have the option to follow them. What do you do then? 

This guide will walk you through a few out-of-the-box options to see a private Twitter account without following them. Be sure to read the full article to fully understand the steps and the implications of seeing private tweets without following. 

How to Determine if a Twitter User is Private

Since you are trying to find out how to see if a Twitter account is private or not, you should probably learn how to identify a private account first. 

If a Twitter account is private, it is quick and easy to tell. When you click on the Twitter account, you cannot see any of their tweets, and you cannot retweet any of their tweets; this means the Twitter account is set to private.

If you want to double-check if they are, in fact, set to private, you can Google their Twitter account name. If none of their tweets appear in Google’s search results, you found a private Twitter account. 

When individuals first make their Twitter accounts, they are automatically public. If you find that the Twitter account you are looking at is set to private, the account owner did so intentionally. It is tough to put your Twitter account to private accidentally. 

Get Help From a Friend to See a Private Twitter Account Without Following

If you want to see a private Twitter account without following it, you might be able to rely on some friends or family for assistance.

Perhaps your friend or family member already follows the Twitter account, or they can start following it to allow you to see the account’s tweet through this loophole. Note- the Twitter account owner will have to accept their follow-request first. There are a few ways the family member or friend can help in this case. 

Please consider that the private Twitter account owner probably wants to remain private before you utilize this method. Let that weigh on your decision before proceeding. 

Borrow a Friend’s Phone/Laptop

Once your friend or family member follows the private Twitter account (and the account owner accepted their follow-request), you will be able to see their tweets on the friend or family member’s device. 

If they are willing to let you borrow their computer or phone for a few minutes, you will be able to browse the private Twitter account’s tweets. 

Borrow a Friend’s Login Information

Additionally, after following the private Twitter account, your friend or family member could provide you their login information so that you can log in to their account on your own computer or smartphone. This would require the friend or family member to have a lot of trust in you and be comfortable giving out their login information. 

Ask a Friend to Send Screenshots

Once your friend follows the private Twitter account, an alternative method is that they could provide you with screenshots of the private account’s tweets. This is not ideal, and depending on the number of private tweets you wish to read, it could require a lot of work on your friend’s part.  

Make a Temporary/Extra Twitter Account

You can make a dummy Twitter account that in no way shows that you are the account owner. In cases where you do not want the private Twitter account owner to know you are following them, this is the best option.

However, consider that the account owner likely wanted privacy for a reason, so avoid this unless absolutely needed. 

Once you have this secondary Twitter account, find the private account and click “follow.” Now you will have to wait and hope that they accept your follow request. If they do not accept your follow request, you will not be able to see their tweets. 

Ask the Twitter Account Owner to Share the Tweets with You

Perhaps you do not want to create a Twitter account yourself. If you are in this situation, you can ask the private Twitter account owner to share their tweets with you. They can copy and paste to text and send it to you through email, SMS text messaging, or other methods. They can also take a screenshot and send it to you. 

If you prefer no electronic communication at all, choosing to stay “off the grid,” the account owner could print off their tweet onto paper and mail them to you! Who would have ever thought about printing tweets?!

This method works great for those who do not want to create a Twitter account to view private Twitter accounts, especially if the private account owner does not mind sharing their tweets with you outside of Twitter. 

There are Complex and Unethical Means to View Private Tweets

Besides the methods above, there are unethical ways to “hack” and view private tweets without following the private Twitter account. There are third-party tools, programs, and websites that may allow you to see private tweets. 

Before downloading any software to your device to view private tweets, make sure it is a trusted download first. If the application has ill-intent, it can damage your computer or mobile phone and compromise your private information. 

Also, be wary of any service online that will charge you for the ability to view private tweets. You may end up spending money for nothing. It is best to avoid these unethical methods to view private tweets. 

Why People Set Their Twitter Accounts to Private or Protected

Before you begin viewing a private Twitter account without following them, you should understand why the private Twitter user set the account to private in the first place. 

If a Twitter account is protected, that means it is a private Twitter account. If the Twitter account is protected, that usually means the owner has something to hide. Here are the main reasons Twitter accounts are set to protected (or private). 

Controls the Followers 

Some protected Twitter account owners likely have their accounts set up that way to control who follows them. They may want to control followers for a few different reasons, mainly to limit their followers to only people they know personally.

Or perhaps, they have a protected account because they have a similar name to another Twitter user, and they want to prevent mistaken Twitter followers.

Imposters Pretending to be Someone Else

Consider a case of a Twitter user posing to be someone else. In this scenario, the impostor may want to control who follows them to limit the possibility of being outed as a fraud. 

With imposters limiting who see their tweets on their protected account, they can more easily prevent others from calling “false” on their tweets. An impostor with a protected Twitter account may allow you to follow them, as long as you do not appear to be a risk to their deception.

Prevent Unwanted Followers

A few Twitter users wish to share their tweets with only a close-knit circle of friends and family. If you are not part of their group, chances are you will be denied a follow. Other protected Twitter accounts may want to prevent their co-workers and managers from following their Twitter- preferring to keep their personal and work life separate. 

Keeping your Twitter account protected and limiting access to those associated with your employer is an excellent way to prevent unwanted problems with HR. In these situations, protected Twitter account holders are protecting their employment. 

Lastly, if they are on the job hunt, they may have set their Twitter to private to prevent potential employers from finding potentially harmful tweets in a Google search. 

Stopping Stalkers 

Stalkers are a real and frightening fact. To prevent online stalkers from watching their every move, people set their Twitter accounts protected to avoid this.  This way, the account owner can weed out those with ill or creepy intentions from following them. 

Additionally, preventing stalkers from accessing your Tweets can be somewhat of a personal safety measure too. For example, if you tweet that you are enjoying a dessert at a local shop with a protected Twitter account, the stalker will not be able to see the tweet. 

Prevent Your Old Tweets from Surfacing

Almost everyone has been “young-and-dumb” or at least had some not-so-glorious moments in their life. If your Twitter account has been around for a while, and you are trying to build a reputable name for yourself, you might decide to protect your Twitter account. 

Protecting tweets will prevent those in your professional life (employers, clients, etc.) from finding out how much you loved partying in college or that one time you ate a whole pizza and breadsticks by yourself. 

Protecting your tweets could not only limit your embarrassment but also protect your employment and career opportunities. Making those decades-old raunchy tweets private is a fantastic strategy for professionals. 

Other Reasons

Twitter accounts might be set to protected or private because someone just wanted to reverse the account name for further use. The name could be similar to their main account, or they might intend to use the account name and monetize it. 

For example, if a new pop-culture term arises, a new account name aligned with the pop-culture reference could be very successful. 

Old Twitter accounts that the owner has been neglecting may have been set to private because they no longer pay attention to it. Also, if they decide to take a break from social media, this could be another reason. 

How to Set Your Twitter Account to Private 

You might be reading this article because you want to know if others can see your protected or private Tweets. If this is the case, you should know how to set your Twitter account to protected. 

Tweets are either public or private, and by default, all of your Tweets are public. If you want to protect your tweets, you will need to adjust some settings. Protected tweets cannot be seen by any that is not following you. 

Protected tweets cannot be retweeted, so even your followers cannot retweet your tweets, making sense since you do not what your non-followers view your tweets. 

To protect your Twitter account, log in to your profile account on Twitter, then follow the steps below. 

  • Click on your Twitter image. 
  • In the drop-down box, click “Settings and privacy.” 
  • In the settings screen, select “Privacy and safety” under your image on the left. 
  • In the “Privacy and safety” page, checkmark the “Protect my Tweets” field. 
  • Scroll down and click on “save changes.”
  • You may have to reenter your password too. 

Once you complete the steps, all of your future tweets will be private (protected). Twitter warns you that past tweets may still be available publicly in some place, like Google search results. However, over time as Google search cache gets an update, it should disappear. 

Since you now have a protected Twitter account, you will have to approve all new followers. You will get a notification with each new follow request, which you can approve or deny. 

Additionally, all of your replies to other Twitter users’ tweets will be invisible to everyone besides those who follow you. With a protected Twitter account, you are completely isolated from everyone besides your approved followers. 

How to Set Specific Tweets to Protected 

Unfortunately, there is no way to protect individual tweets. With Twitter, it is an all-or-nothing setting. In other words, either all of your Tweets are protected, or they are all public. You do, however, always have the option to send private messages to individuals. 


There are ways to view private or protected Twitter accounts without following them yourself. However, the easiest and best way to do this is by using an account (that is not yours) to follow them and view their tweets.

You can also have the Twitter account owner send you screenshots if you do not have a Twitter account. Lastly, there are unethical and potentially illegal ways to view protected tweets, which should be avoided entirely.