Twitter has made a change to its micro-blogging service by allowing any user to send direct messages to another user, regardless of whether the two accounts follow each other or not. Before the change, direct messages could only be sent between people that followed each other. However, users can opt out if they don’t want to receive messages from any profile and can still block users.
Users can reply to anyone who sends them a direct message. A new DM button has been added to profile pages appearing on the Android and iPhone Twitter apps. The company says the changes are aimed at helping people “connect more easily, and directly”.
As of the end of 2014, 500 million tweets were being sent every day, with 288 million active users taking advantage of the service. The company faces competition from a number of rivals including Facebook and the service that it owns, WhatsApp. WhatsApp claimed earlier this year that 30 billion messages were being sent each day via its service. WhatsApp launched a new desktop messaging service earlier in 2015.
Meanwhile, Facebook last year said that it had reached 500 million users. Some experts are worried that Twitter’s new DM facility could be abused.