Twitter has introduced an optional feature that lets you receive direct messages from anyone, even users you don’t follow or who don’t follow you.

Luckily the “feature” is off by default – you can turn it
on in the settings menu. The feature is accompanied by a new “Messages” button in the iOS and Android Twitter apps as well. Twitter first opened your inbox to direct messages from anyone in 2013, but it quickly eliminated the feature.

Now it’s returned, likely so the social network can try
to stake a place in the burgeoning world of messaging apps – where Facebook’s so-far successful efforts have doubtless ruffled Twitter’s feathers. In addition Twitter pointed out in a blog post that less restricted DMing will let users communicate more easily with businesses, something we’ll all be able to agree on when we no longer have to follow Comcast’s support account back just to yell at it privately.

But anyone who turns the feature on will open themselves up to private abuse from strangers to
complement the public abuse many are already enduring – something Twitter still needs to address in a meaningful way, and hopefully soon.

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