Twitter is testing a new way to send DMs, available to certain users on the iOS app for now, and it gives people the option to send others DMs (direct messages) through a link on the tweet. This bypasses the need to use the DM button on the Twitter profile.
The company explained that this is going to make it easier for Twitter users to start a conversation directly from the timeline instead of having to do to a users profile.
Sure, this does skip a step but it is a pretty terrible idea.
Public defender Eliza Orlins pointed out in her reply to Twitter’s announcement that offering a shortcut like this to easily slide into a person’s DMs makes people more “susceptible to harassment”.
The new feature that is being tested skips the step that requires people to go to someone’s profile to get to their inbox and allows them to send a DM without having to leave their timelines. It is literally as simple as replying to a tweet.
As The Verge points out, “It’s hard to see who exactly this feature could benefit”. Close friends might see this as a simpler way of sending a quick DM to each other, but if you are close friends then there should be no issue in going to the other person’s Twitter profile and then sending them a message. Or you can always just continue the ongoing conversations from the inbox.
A shortcut to jump into a person’s inbox possibly saves people a few seconds, but it also opens up a host of other issues. Nasty DMs are a problem on Twitter and the platform acknowledged this issue by rolling out a feature in 2019 that automatically filters out abusive DMs. The platfrom, simultaneously, has been working on ways in making the DM experience better, and easier, and introduced a pop-up tab on the web for direct messages in 2020.
However, this Messenger-style pop-up feature did not give users a shortcut to DM anyone directly from a tweet, it was only an easier to way to reply to existing conversations to DM a person you’ve already been speaking to.
If and when Twitter decides to publicly roll out the direct DM button, the platform has not mentioned if there will an option to turn the feature off.
“This particular experiment is not changing the current settings of anyone’s DMs. We’re always exploring ways to make DMs more accessible and valuable for people on Twitter, and they will always remain in control: anyone has the ability to close their DMs in their settings,” Twitter spokesperson Charlotte Catania said in a statement to The Verge.
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