Twitter, the social network beloved for people with short attention spans that aren’t quite short enough to watch Vines, has announced it’s upgrading its direct message feature! Now, anyone can direct message you! And Twitter is freaking out, but should they?
On one hand, harassment on Twitter is so commonplace and so awful that the company’s own CEO has admitted that it’s a problem. His exact words?
“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.”
They had to build an automated process to take care of all the complaints. Here’s a press release disguised as an op-ed from the company’s general counsel about fixing their harassment problems. So, yeah. It’s pretty bad.
It’s also why you can’t direct message anybody who doesn’t follow you. So Twitter changing that setting is a big deal. Here’s what Twitter’s users think of its idea:
With all of that said, the concerns are a bit misplaced. Twitter has noted the setting to allow direct messages from anybody defaults to “off,” which is a smart choice. They also need to follow you, so if you, say, get followed by somebody with a racial slur in their name, you can know to block them ahead of time.
As for why Twitter is putting its head in the lion’s mouth, it doesn’t have much of a choice. It’s fighting other services, like Snapchat, and wants to increase its userbase. This is why your Twitter feed was an orgy of bad jokes during the Game of Thrones premiere. Really, as it struggles to keep users and make people spend more time on the site, expect more features like this to debut.