The internet can be a treacherous place, particularly when the release of a new movie or TV show is on the horizon.
Not everyone can binge a whole series or catch a movie on its first day of release, or watch a sporting event live – and it never takes too long before major details and twists are revealed online.
You just need to look at the release of the latest Marvel movie – Spider-Man: No Way Home – to see many on social media doing stressing about having details spoiled for them ahead of getting the chance to see it for themselves.
So, what can you do to avoid those pesky spoilers making it onto your timelines?
How to avoid spoilers
Traversing the minefield that is online spoilers can be difficult, but there are a number of different ways that you can avoid secrets being revealed.
These tips apply to any topic at all, be it a blockbuster, football results or your new favourite book series.
Mute words on social media
Twitter is often the place where many spoilers can leak, but the social media app has a very handy tool to help you avoid details for films and TV shows.
You can mute specific words on Twitter so that tweets containing certain words and phrases won’t appear in your timeline.
To mute words, open the app, go to ‘settings and privacy’ and select ‘privacy and safety.’
From there, select the ‘mute and block’ option and then hit ‘muted words.’
It is then up to you to select which words and phrases you want to block.
This can include the title of the film or show – be it Spider-Man or Strictly Come Dancing – as well as the actors and individuals involved.
Many films and TV shows will have certain hashtags attributed to them – in the case of Spider-Man it is #SpiderManNoWayHome – so you may want to find out what that is ahead of time and make sure to include it as one of your muted phrases.
Exclude words from Google Search
Google allows you to exclude a word from your searches through the simple use of certain symbols and punctuation.
When you use a minus sign (-) in front of your web search, Google will omit all web pages containing that term.
If you’re wanting to exclude results that contain a certain phrase, then you can put that phrase in quotation marks after using the minus sign, which will exclude results that contain that exact phrase.
So, say you wanted to look up Spider-Man but didn’t want to see any articles containing information about No Way Home, you would type into Google: Spiderman -“No Way Home”.
You may still get some information pertaining to the film (such as cinema showtimes), but the results will not contain the same selection of top stories and carousels as it would if you were to just type in Spider-Man, helping you to avoid spoilers.
Download a browser extension
Many internet browsers have the option to download an extension that can help you specifically avoid web pages that may hold spoilers for certain titles and events.
Similarly to the mute function on Twitter, Spoiler Protection 2.0 allows you to block content covering specific topics from movies to TV shows, books and sports.
It will block any content that comes under your criteria on all sites from Facebook to Twitter, to news sites and Google results, meaning you can browse peacefully without any threat of seeing spoilers.
Spoiler Protection 2.0 is available on Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox.
There are other extensions, including CustomBlocker, that can also block certain words and phrases from appearing on sites.
Avoid the internet
Easier said than done, but going cold turkey on all forms of social media and online browsing is one sure way to guarantee you’ll avoid spoilers.
Social media sites in particular – Facebook, Twitter and Reddit namely – will be a hive of people discussing the release of new movies or shows, so avoiding those sites is advised.
Of course, it may not be possible for you to avoid the internet altogether, but that’s what browser extensions are for!
Practice what you preach: Don’t share spoilers!
If you’re lucky enough to see something early, don’t share the spoilers yourself and do your best not to ruin the experience for other people, even when sharing spoiler-free thoughts.
You never want to be ‘that guy’ so do your best to keep your discussion around highly anticipated titles either to direct messages with other people who have seen it and avoid posting specifics.
Remember to always be kind online as well – if you do happen to see a spoiler it may be an honest mistake so don’t attack other people online.