April 23, 2015
As promised, Twitter is moving forward with new changes to expand its private messaging feature that will allow users to receive private messages from any account. Twitter’s previous messaging policy forbid users from exchanging private messages, unless both users were following one another’s accounts. The new change, a setting option that will have to be manually enabled, may prompt more users to make use of Twitter’s Direct Messaging service, which has yet to gain significant traction.
According to The New York Times, the problem with Twitter’s former private messaging policy was that “two Twitter accounts exchanging messages had to follow each other on the service — essentially agreeing to see everything the other account posted publicly — before they could correspond.”
Steps to improve Twitter’s messaging service have been pending since last year. Twitter’s messaging service pales in comparison to other messaging services such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, which reaches as many 800 million active users.
The new setting option is “likely to make Twitter’s messaging service more useful to a wide variety of users,” suggests NYT. “Corporations, celebrities and politicians will be able to reach out to their followers with special deals and fund-raising appeals… Journalists and news organizations will be able to receive tips more easily from anonymous Twitter accounts. And individuals will be able to communicate more easily with others on the service about an interesting tweet.”
Twitter says users can delete messages from unidentified accounts to permanently block these users from sending any further messages. That hasn’t curbed concerns from critics who believe the update provides new opportunities for trolls.