Twitter is jumping on the stranger danger bandwagon, but not in the direction one would think. Twitter announced Monday that it is rolling out a new feature for direct messaging that will allow users to opt in on receiving direct messages from anyone on the site. Previously, only two people who were following one another could send direct messages privately.
The direct message feature on Twitter has never been the strongest tool in its shed, and company executives promised to revamp the feature for more efficient use. Due to the previous requirement that accounts follow each other to share messages privately, public conversations would often take place on Twitter feeds until one asked the other to follow so that they could DM (direct message).
The updated DM feature has actually been in testing by Twitter since 2013, when the new option was distributed to a small group of people. Users of the app on Android and iPhone will be able to see which accounts have opted in, thanks to a direct message button that will appear on the user’s profile. It’s thought that this feature could prove exceedingly useful in situations where anonymity and privacy are highly valued. In the past, journalists wishing to contact an account that tweeted something worth covering, would have to tweet that person asking for a follow. Often, publicly tweeting information led to a loss of discretion.
One immediate concern that’s popped up since the new DM feature was announced is the possibility of spam. If your account can be DM’ed by anyone, it’s possible that you’ll receive promotional material or spam more often. Still, many users may consider it worth the trade off.
If you want to enable the new feature and receive messages from anyone, go to your settings, click on Security and privacy, and choose the Receive Direct Messages from anyone option.