It can be supremely embarrassing, and even dangerous, to tweet instead of direct message. Twitter makes it harder for you to make that mistake.
Halt! Did you really mean to send that as a tweet? If you’re an active denizen of the Twitterverse, then you know exactly how embarrassing it can be to send a tweet instead of a direct message (DM). But now, Twitter (in all its magnanimity) is helping to ensure that you never embarrass yourself (in that way) again. The mobile app now has a safeguard against that confusion by warning you that you’re about to send a tweet instead of a DM.
So the Twitter app now warns you if it thinks you're going to have a DM fail pic.twitter.com/TwZ1Z7lVS6
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) June 7, 2017
Now, when you start your reply on Twitter with “DM,” the mobile app will display a pop-up warning that tells you that you are not sending a direct message to someone. The message reads, “You’re Tweeting this. Anything sent from the Tweet compose field will now be sent like any other Tweet.”
If you meant to do this, you can simply select the “Tweet” option, and be on your merry way. But if you suddenly realize your mistake, you can quickly hit “Cancel,” and send the message in private, instead of broadcasting your thoughts for the world to see.
So why do people think that starting a tweet with DM works as a way to send a message to an inbox? As Mashable explains, it has its roots in the earlier iterations of Twitter, when you could “initiate various actions, like sending a DM … by attaching specific commands before the text of your tweets” when using Twitter by way of SMS.
But that does not work anymore, as Twitter made an API change last month disabling the old feature. So if you’re used to starting a tweet with DM and expecting it to send as such — don’t. You will be in for a not-so-nice surprise.
In any case, Twitter is helping drive that message home with this new feature, so hopefully, you will not have to scramble to delete any tweets anytime soon.