In the past several months, Twitter’s announced that it’s going to do more to make trolling less of an issue on their social media platform. A new announcement, however, suggests that the company may be making it easier than ever for strangers to contact you even if you don’t follow them back.
Currently, Twitter doesn’t allow for for you to send messages to people you follow but don’t follow you back. That’s why I can tweet all I want at Brandon Routh, but until he follows me back Twitter will always prevent me from sending him a private message asking if he wants to hang out sometime and talk shit about that whole Superman fiasco. But all of that is about to change with a new opt-in.
The Verge reports that you’ll soon be able to message anyone you follow regardless of whether they follow you back or not. So if a troll adds you to their timeline, it appears they’ll now be able to message you as well, forcing you to have to block them in order not to receive further updates about what they think of you.
Users can now send DMs to any of their followers, even if they don’t follow back. Or, they can choose to receive direct messages from anyone using Twitter. While the second of these features sounds like a recipe for spam, it’s most likely intended to help brands handle customer support on the site. The ability to DM followers, meanwhile, could be useful for taking public disputes to a more private sphere. An update to Twitter’s iOS and Android apps also adds a Direct Messages button to user profiles for easier access.
This doesn’t sound like a bad idea. At all. Also: Why would you, if you were disputing a company on Twitter, take it private instead of public? The main reason why Twitter works for upset customers is that it forces the company to take accountability in a private forum, at least acknowledging the complaint if not solving it in public outright.
According to The Verge, this new development is also supposed to make communicating with your coworkers and other professionals in your field a snap, allowing you to chat with them while not having to add them to your Facebook. Except here is something Twitter’s not saying: Responding to DMs on mobile is a skilled art. There have been several (many times) that I thought I was sending direct messages only to realize that I had invited my whole network to dinner at the Olive Garden for never-ending pasta night because of an app bug or an accidental press of my big fat thumbs. How is that going to make it a better tool to communicate about sensitive information?
Twitter says that it’s still “laying the foundations” for an even better experience, but many users are already happy to tell Twitter exactly how they feel about the new direct messaging system. In short: users are not happy.
Well, some are.
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