As of Monday, all Twitter users can receive direct messages from people they don’t follow — but only if they opt in. This is something brands, celebrities, and politicians have wanted for a while — it will now be easier for official-ish entities to communicate with followers or consumers in private. However, since this is Twitter, a social-media service never known for only inspiring civil discourse, opening up direct messages to the entirety of the internet could also lead to endless harassment and spam, which has led people to immediately question this change.
However, opening up the Pandora’s box of unlimited DMs is optional, and Twitter is making it easy to block users who send unwelcome messages.
In other Twitter news, a new app has debuted that can scrub your Twitter account of all tweets that a future employer might find objectionable. It was the brainchild of someone who lost their job because of old tweets. Time magazine reports that Ethan Czahor, who had his dream job with the Jeb Bush campaign for less than three days before someone unearthed tweets like, “Most people don’t know that halloween is German for ‘night that girls with low self-esteem dress like sluts,” before resigning.
The app, Clear, searches through your Twitter account for curses, and words like gay, Americans, and black. These parameters could also obviously find many completely inoffensive tweets on many accounts, but Czahor says the app is designed to be cautious. “The most challenging part of this is determining which tweets are actually offensive, and that’s something that will take a while to get really good at.”
And for those hoping to use this service to more easily find the objectionable tweets of important people — you can’t use Clear unless you have the log-in information for the account in question.
Unfortunately, no one has yet invented an app to stop people from sending bad tweets or DMs in the first place.