Twitter adds ability to receive DMs from everyone

Twitter is now more like e-mail. Users can choose to allow people they do not follow to send them a direct message.

Previously, Twitter users had to follow each other in order to exchange direct messages. Otherwise, users could @ mention each other in publicly-posted messages and be notified of those messages. But a new setting, which hasn’t been rolled out to all users yet, allows you to decide if you want to receiving incoming direct messages from people you are not following. The change makes Twitter more akin to e-mail, where you can send anyone a message so long as you know their address.

Users gaining access to the new feature are saying it is turned off by default, making it an opt-in feature to receive direct messages from outside your network. One immediate concern about turning on the open direct message feature is spam. Twitter is already plagued by spam bots that target popular hash tags or @ mention users and link to malicious or unwanted content. Hackers also often hi-jack Twitter accounts in order to send direct message spam to a users’ followers. Now spammers will be able to send direct messages to anyone who chooses to open up their inbox.

If your account has been given access to the new feature, you will see a check box to “Receive direct messages from any follower” under your account settings.

To see if the new feature is being well-adopted, we tried sending direct messages to a few Twitter employees:

  • Kirstine Stewart, the head of Twitter Canada, does not accept DMs from users that she doesn’t follow.
  • Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is not using the feature yet.
  • The @Twitter account is also not using the feature.
  • Twitter CEO Richard Costolo doesn’t receive DMs from everyone.

Will you use this feature? Let us know in the comments below or tweet @ITBusinessca on Twitter.


Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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