TikTok has made a change to the way its direct messages work, allowing users to send DMs to anyone for the first time.
Previously, TikTok only let people send direct messages to people who they had identified as being friends or were recommended, but that’s all now changed.
TikTok has begun to email users to tell them of the change, with The Information reporting that new direct message settings were actually introduced in November. However, the rollout was a limited one and only applied to some users.
Now, it’s rolling out to all TikTok users.
On Tuesday, TikTok sent an email to some users to highlight changes it made in November to expand its private messaging settings, according to an email reviewed by The Information. Users who want to receive DMs can now opt in to receive messages from everyone, as well as recommended friends (such as synced phone contacts or Facebook friends), or mutually followed friends (meaning users who follow each other back).
For now users have the option of whether enabling this new, more open messaging feature. But it is also possible that the option will go away as TikTok fights to become more like Instagram while also competing with it on every level.
The ability to send direct messages to everyone could prove to be another vehicle for hate and abuse, one particular reason we hope TikTok continues to offer the ability to disable it.