As Twitter fends off new competition from Instagram Threads, the company today announced a change designed to cut down on spam in users’ inboxes. Starting “as soon as” July 14, Twitter will introduce a new messages setting aimed at reducing spam in DMs by moving messages from Verified users you don’t follow back to your “Message Request” inbox instead of your main inbox. Only messages from people you follow will arrive in your primary inbox going forward. Notably, these changes will also now apply to everyone who have their inboxes open to allow messages from anyone.
Previously, people would only be able to message you via Twitter DMs if you had opted into an option to receive messages from anyone through Twitter’s Settings or if the senders were Verified users (meaning they pay for a Twitter subscription) and you had specifically opted into receiving Direct Messages from Verified users.
Additionally, people could Direct Message you if you had first sent them a Direct Message at some point in the past.
The change to move messages from Verified users back to the Message Request inbox instead of the primary inbox (unless you follow them), signals another failure of Twitter’s new verification system where users can pay for the blue badge that gives them elevated status on the platform. Before becoming pay-to-play, verification indicated a person was a public or notable figure of some sort — like a politician, celebrity, athlete, journalist, or other well-known individual. By making the Verified checkmark accessible to anyone who had a credit card to buy it, Twitter diluted the value of verification.
That apparently escalated to the point that people have become bothered by Verified users spamming their main inbox, when they had set it open to receive DMs from the blue-badged crowd. In other words, it’s a tacit admission that Twitter has a Verified user spam problem.
Twitter notes that if users still want to receive DMs from Verified users in their main inbox, they can manually switch back to that setting at any time after these changes are put into place.
The update will also make it more difficult for journalists to contact sources for more information or permission to use a tweet, as they not only lost their verification badges under Musk, but now — even if they now pay to be Verified — will have their DMs dropped into the Message Requests folder, where they may remain unseen.
As some users pointed out in the replies to Twitter’s announcement, the update doesn’t actually cut down on spam — from Verified users or otherwise — it simply relocates those messages to a different folder.
Elon Musk had proclaimed that reducing spam and bots on Twitter would be one of his major objectives after buying the social network for $44 billion last year. However, The Wall St. Journal recently reported fake and spam accounts remain a persistent problem on the platform. By at least one measure of bot activity, the degree of bot activity has remained the same after Musk’s takeover, the report also noted.