Direct Messages (DMs) on Twitter sent by people you don't know will now be categorized as "Requests" and go into a separate inbox, the San Francisco, California-based social media giant said on Tuesday. The Requests inbox can be accessed through the Direct Messages interface of the official Twitter mobile app and provides users with a list of DMs sent by unknown people, prompting them to either accept such messages or delete them after they have been seen. The functionality itself is seemingly rather similar to the manner in which Facebook handles personal messages sent from people who aren't on one's friend list. If you choose to delete a request, the original sender won't be able to know whether you have seen their message or not. The change won't affect DMs sent by people you know as those will still end up directly in your main DM inbox, Twitter said.
The sole act of deleting a DM request doesn't prevent the sender from dispatching another one, which can only be prevented by blocking the sender using Twitter's existing blocking tool. The new feature is currently in the process of being rolled out to the official Twitter app for Android devices, as well as the company's web client and iOS app. It's currently unclear how long the rollout will take to be completed, though Twitter implied that the change is being introduced through a server-side switch, indicating that the functionality should already be available globally in the coming days.
The company detailed the newly introduced feature in a short video that can be seen below and has yet to disclose the reasoning behind the change in any official capacity. Industry watchers are speculating that the functionality is likely an extension of Twitter's initiative aimed at combating online abuse, with the social media company's developers recently opting to focus on preventing abusive messages from reaching users. That approach to moderation was criticized by some individuals who previously claimed that Twitter should do more to sanction abusive users instead of censoring them, though the company often claimed it's doing both. More details on upcoming changes and additions to Twitter will likely be available later this year.
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 30, 2017