Twitter’s direct DM test is a bad idea

Twitter is exploring a new way to send DMs on iOS, and it involves letting users slip into your inbox via a link on your tweets, bypassing the DM button on your profile. The platform says this will make it easier to “start a conversation” from your timeline – but you can probably see how it can go very, very badly.

As public defender Eliza Orlins points out, offering a shortcut to your DMs could make users even more vulnerable to harassment. Instead of having to click through your profile to get to your inbox, users can share their thoughts via private message without ever having to leave the timeline (and as easily as they could reply to your tweet).

It’s hard to see exactly who this feature could benefit – close friends might want a quick way to DM each other, but I think most people are comfortable going to Twitter’s profile. a friend to message them, or simply continue an existing conversation from their inbox.

Giving users a shortcut to someone’s private messages could open a Pandora’s box of trouble. Twitter already knows that mean DMs can be a problem, which is why it rolled out a feature in 2019 that automatically filters out abusive DMs. Although Twitter rolled out a Messenger-style pop-up tab on the web in 2020, it actually makes sense — unlike that new DM button, it doesn’t really give you a shortcut to DM someone in direct response to a tweet. , it instead lets you choose from your existing conversations (or enter the username of the person you want to DM).

If this new DM button leaves the testing phase, it is unclear if there will be an option for users to disable the feature for security and privacy reasons. The edge reached out to Twitter with a request for comment, but did not immediately respond.


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