July 06, 2011

Twitter Users Able to Direct Message Those They Don't Follow


Although the company hasn’t officially changed its policy, some verified Twitter account holders are now able to send “direct messages” to users they aren’t following.

But in a statement sent to PC Magazine, a Twitter spokesman today denied any change to its direct message policy, saying that a “limited number” of accounts are able to receive DMs from accounts they don’t follow.

“Contrary to news reports, Twitter has not changed the rules for how Direct Messages (DMs) work for Verified accounts,” Twitter spokesman Matt Graves told PCMag. “However, we have given a limited number of accounts the ability to receive DMs from accounts they don't follow, in cases where having that capability may be beneficial (for example, enabling businesses to receive account information that users may not want to post publicly).”

The change that verified Twitter account holders can send Direct Messages to users they don’t follow was first noticed by blogger Nabeel Ziyaan, according to The Next Web. “Now Twitter verified accounts [Brands] can let followers Direct Message without following back,” Ziyaan tweeted on July 4.

But according to Twitter’s policy, direct messaging is only available to users who are being followed by the user they are following.

Now we have that cleared up, imagine if Twitter had officially changed its policy and the implications that the new feature could have.

On the bright side, you could DM any celeb you wanted. (For example, I might tell Kim Kardashian we don’t care as much about her derrière as she thinks we do.) It could also give businesses an advantage.

“…Supporters say it will benefit businesses, which will be able to get messages from customers without having to follow them back,” according to XBIZ.com.

But more likely, dropping the “following” requirement would have a negative impact by allowing accounts to receive any number of unsolicited messages, the report said.

Indian mobile service provider Tata DOCOMO said the change was working on Tuesday, according to media reports.

“Now to DM us all you need to do is follow @tatadocomo. No need for us to follow you first. Tested and it’s working,” the company tweeted, following with an update on Wednesday that said, “The one tweet we made that has shaken the #twitter world ... if only we had known before :)”

In other Twitter news, on July 6 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, the White House will hold its first Twitter Town Hall. President Barack Obama will answer Twitter users’ questions about the American economy live at askobama.twitter.com.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.



Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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