Direct messages (DMs) are tweets privately sent between users who both follow each other, or to verified accounts like those held by journalists and celebrities who enable to option to receive DMs from people they do not follow.
“Over the next few weeks, we're rolling out an update that makes deleting DMs more consistent across web and mobile,” said the company in a Twitter Support tweet. “We're also making an update to the Twitter iPhone and Android apps that will allow you to access your entire DM history.”
Twitter’s DMs had limited appeal to users looking for a way to privately chat because they have a 140 character limit, and did not synchronise well between the website and the mobile apps.
'A real opportunity for us'
The success of WhatsApp bought by Facebook for $19bn in February, which now has over 500 million users, has shown the demand for instant messaging private chat apps. Twitter introduced pop-up notifications for DMs on its website in April.
Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo insisted that DMs were a key feature for during an earnings call in April.
“There's a real opportunity for us, when we think about our private messaging, to strengthen the core of our Twitter product by making it easier for users to move more fluidly between the public conversation that happens everywhere on Twitter, and the private conversation between you and a friend or you and a few friends,” said Costolo.
It is unknown whether Twitter’s new access to DMs will extend to third party apps like Tweetbot or Echofon, although the social network’s recent moves indicate it is trying to diminish the value of third-party clients in favour of its own website, smartphone and tablet apps.
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