As users continue to whine about Twitter's newest software tweak that lets anyone in the Twitterverse directly message anyone else, more than a few others are asking just one simple thing. How can a user opt out of this new messaging free-for-all that Twitter created with supposedly good intentions?
Thankfully, the answer is pretty simple. It's a matter of going into settings (that white 'cog' icon), clicking 'privacy' and ensuring the option to "Receive Direct Messages from anyone" is disabled.
While Twitter provides extensive insight into the new feature and explains how to enable it on a PC and smartphone, it sort of drops the ball on giving just as much insight for those who don't want to be part of the 'direct message' realm.
One way out is to block certain users from direct messaging you, while still allowing access to others. Another way is to unfollow someone you don't want to receive direct messages from.
For those who are beginners or are not even on Twitter yet, this newly announced "wild, wild west" messaging feature isn't new. The social network initially rolled out the function to a small user base back in 2013. Now it's just pushing it across the full population.
Twitter, in announcing the full deployment of wide-open DM, explained its rationale in a blog post written by senior software engineer Nhu Vuong:
"Today, we're changing how direct messaging works so that it's even easier for you to communicate one-to-one or with a chosen group of people, anywhere in the world. Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you'd have to ask them to follow you first. With today's changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers."
The thing is, most people aren't worried about their own direct messaging behavior. They are worried about the public Twitter world at large and the potential to be badgered, harassed, bullied and annoyed by direct messages.
Up until now, users could only send private messages to people who follow them. The "follow" was pretty much the gatekeeper of direct messaging.
The messaging change comes at a surprising time, given that Twitter is apparently working hard to keep spam down and protect users against the increasing abuse of trolls on its platform.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo reportedly even sent out a memo on the issues, stating, "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years."
The messaging change features a bit of a twerk, as one report notes, that might make some users who opt out of widespread-DM a bit annoyed.
It seems that when one user follows another, they don't have the option of DM — but the one being followed has the privilege of sending a direct message to the follower, even if that follower has clicked the "receive direct messages from everyone" option off.
Also, beware whom you direct message, as you'll have that capability even after you unfollow them and vice versa. Now, if you never sent a DM to a follower and then you unfollow them, they won't have DM privilege to message you directly.
Confusing? Yes, but there are some workarounds if you find lots of DMs coming your way from people you don't want DMs from. You can unfollow them, you can block them and/or you can delete your tweeting history with them.