Twitter and Facebook drop privacy bombshells
Twitter has announced that it’s opening up DMs to everyone, regardless of their following status. So where previously two users had to be following one another to communicate via DM (or one user had to publicly ask the other to follow them in order to do so – awkward), it will now be possible to send a DM to anyone, whether they’re following you or not. Great news for social connectivity, and even better news for trolls, who will now be able to bombard anyone they choose with direct messages.
The decision to open up DMs to all has come at an odd time, given the recent backlash about cyber-bullying and trolling. Still, the setting is being rolled out now and will be available to all in the coming days.
Facebook has also caused outrage following its decision to remove the one coherent privacy setting that prevents people from searching individual profiles. Amid a sea of sometimes-confusing visibility settings, the single ‘Who can look up your timeline by name’ has been a saviour for those looking to keep their profiles on lock-down, but Facebook will be removing it “because it isn’t as useful as it was before”.
Helpfully, the notification informing users of this change adds that “there are better ways to manage your privacy using privacy shortcuts”. Alas, those familiar with Facebook’s privacy settings will know that these “better ways” involve trawling through every piece of content and changing its visibility manually.
Both decisions raise concerns as to whether social networks are actually listening to the privacy concerns of their users, or, more disappointingly, if they’re hoping to capitalize on the ignorance of those that don’t understand the importance of online security.