Twitter's latest direct message test is criticized for harassment potential

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Twitter has announced that it is testing a new way to start direct message conversations with users on the platform, leading to criticism from those concerned about the potential for abuse.

The new system means that it will be possible to start a DM conversation by simply clicking a newly added direct message button in individual tweets. While Twitter says that the move is about making it easier to start conversations, critics point out that it is likely to be used for harassment.

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While it has never been a particularly arduous task to send a direct message to a Twitter user, the system that is currently being tested means that it is not necessary to visit a profile to access the DM button. The DM option now appears in every tweet, offering a quick and easy shortcut for anyone to get in touch.

Twitter announced the new functionality in a tweet:

A flurry of replies practically begged the company to reconsider. A common complaint is that it is extremely likely to be exploited by trolls and abusers to send unwanted messages:

But Twitter is currently refusing to back down, switching responsibility back to users by saying that there are settings that can be used to limit direct messages:

The company has doubled down on this position in a statement which reads: "This particular experiment is not changing the current settings of anyone's DMs. We're always exploring ways to make DMs more accessible and valuable for people on Twitter, and they will always remain in control: anyone has the ability to close their DMs in their settings".

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