Twitter has been steadily developing its Direct Messages (DMs) tool over the years, hoping to encourage users to communicate privately within the app when necessary, instead of heading off to a popular chat app to continue the conversation.
The latest feature, which landed on Tuesday, is a new “requests” folder that holds DMs from people you don’t follow, until you decide what to do with them.
You’ll only receive messages from strangers if you opted in to receiving DMs from anyone, a decision you can reverse via your privacy settings.
So now, when you hit your messages tab, your inbox will only contain messages from people you know, while other messages will be filtered to the new requests folder alongside it.
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 30, 2017
Tap on “requests” to view the identity of the senders and how many messages each one has sent. Tap on any of these to show the actual message, and then choose either accept or delete. Accept it and future messages from that person will automatically land in your inbox.
Deleting a message will not prevent that account from sending you additional messages (they’ll continue to go to requests), but remember, you always have the option to block the account to avoid future contact, and you also have the chance to report the conversation.
Finally, any included media will stay hidden unless you tap the view media button or accept the message, and the sender won’t know you’ve seen their message unless you accept their request.
Twitter says the new feature, which is available only on its official iOS and Android apps as well as at twitter.com, ensures “you get the messages that matter.” It’s clearly also part of wider efforts to tackle abuse on the service, giving users more ways to manage incoming content and avoid potentially nasty surprises inside the Messages tab. Don’t forget, though, you can always opt back out of receiving DMs from people you don’t know by tapping on the gear icon, selecting “security and privacy,” and then “privacy and safety,” and toggling the button that says “receive DMs from anyone.”