Twitter is testing a new way to filter unwanted messages from the Inbox of Direct Messages. Today, Twitter allows users to set their direct inbox as open to receiving messages from anyone, but this can invite many unwanted messages, including abuse. While one solution is to adjust the settings so that only the ones you follow can send your private messages, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some people – such as journalists, for example – want to have an inbox open to have private conversations and get suggestions.
This new experiment will test a filter that will move unwanted messages, including those with offensive content or spam, into a separate tab.
Unwanted messages aren’t fun. So we’re testing a filter in your DM requests to keep those out of sight, out of mind. pic.twitter.com/Sg5idjdeVv
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) August 15, 2019
Instead of grouping all your messages into one view, the Message Requests section will include messages from people you don’t follow and, below, you’ll find a way to access these newly filtered messages.
Users should click on the “Show” button to read these as well, which protects them from having to deal with the flow of unwanted content that can sometimes spill out when inbox is left open.
And even when you view this list of filtered messages, all the content itself is not immediately visible.
In the event that Twitter identifies potentially offensive content, the message preview will say that the message is hidden because it may contain offensive content. This way, users can decide if they want to open the message itself or simply click on the Delete button to delete it.
The change could allow direct messages to become a more useful tool for those who prefer an open mailbox, as well as an additional means of suppressing online abuse.
It is also similar to how Facebook Messenger handles requests: those of people you are not friends with are transferred to a separate Message Request area. And those that are spam or more questionable are in a filtered hard to find section under that.
It is not clear why a feature like this really requires a “test”, however – probably, most people would like to filter out the garbage and abuse. And those who for some reason have not done so, could simply activate or deactivate a setting to disable the filter.
Instead, this seems another example of the slow pace of Twitter when it comes to making changes to crack down on abuse. Facebook Messenger filters messages this way by the end of 2017. Twitter should simply launch a change like this instead of “testing” it.
The idea of hiding – rather than eliminating – unwanted content is something that Twitter has also tested in other areas. Last month, for example, he started piloting a new “Hide answers” feature in Canada, which allows users to hide unwanted replies to their tweets so that they are not visible to everyone. Tweets are not deleted, but rather positioned behind an additional click, similar to this direct message change.
Twitter is updating the direct messaging system in other ways too.
At a press conference this week, Twitter announced several changes coming to its platform, including a way to follow the topics, as well as a search tool for Direct Message inboxes, as well as support for iOS Live Photos like GIF, the ability to rearrange photos and more.