This week Twitter announced a new feature via their blog that has many up in arms. Starting April 20th, users have been given the option to enable Direct Messages, not just from followers–but from anyone. Twitter’s hope is to make connecting with others you don’t know in real life easier, and to eliminate having to awkwardly ask someone to follow you in order to send them a private message. This feature could be advantages for businesses who want to make customer service reps more easily available, for job seekers trying to connect with a potential new employer, or fans hoping to interact with a favorite artist.

Many users fear this new feature can also open the door to harassment, cyber-bullying, and even stalking. These are all issues that the platform has dealt with, problems that they admitted fault and embarrassment to fail dealing with in the past. Only a day after the announcement of this new option for Direct Messages, Twitter posted again on their blog about new policy and product updates to fight such abuse.

But whatever your worry, you can rest assured that no deaf ear is being turned to this matter as Twitter has made efforts to accommodate users who may be less than thrilled at the news of this new Direct Message. The feature is switched off by default and must be turned on manually. To help differentiate who has the feature turned on, a new Direct Message button will appear on profile pages on the app only if the user is someone you can contact. Should you choose to accept Direct Messages from anyone and start receiving spam or worse, you can still block that user.

For those who are interested in turning this on and experiencing Twitters brave new messaging world, here’s a quick guide to activating the feature:

  1. Login to Twitter and click your user icon in the top right corner to access your profile and settings
  2. Click “Security and privacy” in the sidebar
  3. Scroll down to the last option under the “Privacy” header and make sure the “Receive Direct Messages from anyone” box is checked, save

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Tell me something! What do you think of this new feature?