Twitter Wants to Make Harassment Easier

Twitter is exploring a new way to send DMs on iOS, and it involves letting users slide into your inbox through a link on your tweets, bypassing the DM button on your profile, The Verge reported. According to The Verge, Twitter says this will make it easier to “start a conversation” from your timeline. I think it is obvious how this can end up going very badly.

On February 3, 2021, @TwitterSupport tweeted: “For when you want to reply directly to a Tweet’s author, we’re making it easier to DM them from your timeline to start a conversation.”

Right now, if you want to send someone a DM on Twitter, you need to click to the person’s profile and click the envelope icon. That will open up a Message to that person. You will see it along with whatever other messages you have. Next, you need to type something into the box that appears and send the DM.

Based on nothing more than the tweet from @TwitterSupport, it appears that the ability to send a DM right from your timeline allows a person to bypass the usual way DMs are sent. Sending a DM will become a “one-click” situation.

That’s a terrible idea for many reasons. It would give people who are bullies a super fast way to send a mean DM to a stranger. This could result in people logging-in to Twitter to a slew DMs with hateful content from people they have never interacted with. I wish Twitter would have taken the time to consider the harm a feature like this could cause to people who already receive hate on Twitter because of their gender or race.

A spokesperson from Twitter sent The Verge a statement. “This particular experiment is not changing the current settings of anyone’s DMs”, Twitter spokesperson Charlotte Catania said. “We’re always exploring ways to make DMs more accessible and valuable for people on Twitter, and they will remain in control: anyone has the ability to close their DMs in their settings.”

The new DM feature will be rolled out as a test on iOS. If you use Twitter through Android, or the desktop, you won’t be able to test it out just yet. In the meantime, you might want to go into your Settings, find the Direct Messages section, and prevent random strangers from sending you questionable, and unwanted, DMs.