Twitter announced today that the company is updating its direct messaging system so that it’s no longer a requirement for accounts to follow each other in order to send direct messages. Previously, users could only send direct messages to accounts that were following them. From the Twitter blog:
A setting that allows you to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow them. To change your settings follow these instructions.
Updated messaging rules so you can reply to anyone who sends you a Direct Message, regardless of whether or not that person follows you.
A new Direct Message button on profile pages on Android and iPhone. You’ll see it on the profiles of people you can send Direct Messages to.
The announcement of this change set off a firestorm of criticism from Twitter users. Apparently, the idea that anyone could easily direct message anyone else wasn’t too popular. The outrage is no surprise, as Twitter has a poor history of dealing with harassment amongst its user base. And while it’s easy enough to report and/or block a user who’s been sending troubling @ replies to you, allowing potential instigators to have access to what has always been a private and secure space (your direct message inbox), provides a whole new level of problems.
Fortunately, this new function is opt-in. So, if you still want your direct messages to work as they always have, you don’t need to do anything. But if you would like to open your direct message box to the world, you can choose to do so in your Twitter account settings.
It seems that Twitter made this move in response to commercial accounts looking for more efficient ways to communicate with their customers. Of course, for Twitter, adding more users is the name of the game. Perhaps the company believes that implementing this change will woo new users over the potential of sending direct messages to their favorite celebrities.
[dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms Kanye] [dms airline complaining about delay] [dms K
— Mark Berman (@markberman) April 20, 2015
Something tells me most Twitter users won’t be opting in to this new feature.