Twitter Lets Followers Send Direct Messages
October 15, 2013

Twitter Now Lets Followers Send Direct Messages

Peter Suciu for – Your Universe Online

Micro-blogging service Twitter has changed the restriction on the sending of direct messages between users. This week the microblogging social media site rolled out a new option that will let users opt to receive direct messages from anyone who follows them, even if that user doesn’t follow them back.

This feature was announced last night, with marketing user @JimConnolly tweeting, “You can now receive DM's from anyone who follows you, without you following them.”

He spotted the setting change that noted: “Receive direct messages from any follower.Generally, you must follow someone before they have the ability to direct message you. If you check this option, any Twitter user that follows you will be able to send you a DM, regardless of whether you decide to follow them back.”

Twitter has not publicly – even via tweets – responded to when this feature was first introduced or when it might be available to the entire community.

What this change may mean for users could depend on how one sees it. The first issue of course is whether it could open the door for a potential flood of spam and unsolicited emails.

“It's a bit like giving your email address to everyone, including spammers,” Luke Edwards wrote on Pocket-Lint on Tuesday. However, Edwards also noted that this could be “helpful for companies to converse on specific problems with the public.”

Devindra Haradawar of Venture Beat concurred, saying “It’s likely an effort to make the service friendlier to advertisers and brands. Sending DMs to these companies would be a good way for users to communicate with brands without making their messages public.”

For individual users, the key is also that this is not an automatic change and users shouldn’t expect to receive messages from everyone on the social network. This is an opt-in feature, and for businesses it means a way of providing a customer service tool, where businesses won’t have to follow back thousands of users to deal with customer-related issues.

This is just one of several new changes that the social media site has been rolling out in recent weeks. Last week the company began testing a new service that will send users direct messages with news articles as well as alerts to followers regarding popular users and their respective tweets.

There is also the possibility that if the direct message policy proves to be unpopular that Twitter could do an about face on it entirely.

In July Twitter began to list embedded tweet sites but then abruptly ceased the practice. This followed a Twitter announcement in April that the microblog would begin allowing advertisers to target their respective ads towards users who tweet certain searchable keywords. The ad associated with these keywords would then show up in the user’s timeline, and much like sponsored tweets , they could also be dismissed.

WThe new direct message option can be enabled from the main setting page on, and at present only seems to be rolling out to accounts, so it may not yet be available to every user.