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Twitter is rolling out a new feature this week that's giving a lot traditionalists nightmares. They are making the Direct Message feature available to anyone — even people who don't follow you — but, thank heavens, it's optional.

The usual suspect tech blogs started noticing this new feature Tuesday morning. Until now, direct messages could only be sent from one account to another if the recipeient was also following the sender. Now, users can elect to receive a DM from anyone. All they have to do is enable the new rules by checking a box on their settings page, opening up their direct messages for the world. No restrictions on who can reach out to you with a private message.

Sure, there are practical applications to it, but a lot of people are recoiling in horror at the thought of enabling this new trick. If you choose to opt in, any Regular Joe or vagrant with a Twitter account can tell you their truest thoughts and feelings, within 140 characters, without worrying about the rest of the world seeing the message. How does that make you feel, Twitter users?

But the idea isn't to scare you. The experts agree it's all about Twitter's push to court more brands. "While the new option is fairly minor, it’s likely designed to allow brands and businesses to receive private messages from their followers," writes the Verge's Tom Warren. Others are disappointed that Twitter didn't go further and overhaul Direct Messages completely. "It's not the dramatic messaging changes it could've been, and chances are it's really aimed at the commercial sector," says Gizmodo's Jamie Condliffe. "It means private organizations could easily receive direct messages from customers, say," he adds. 

Not everyone has the new option yet. Twitter's slowly rolling it out to different accounts over the next few weeks. If you keep checking under your "Security and Privacy" settings, the little check box seen above should appear soon. 

[Inset via The Verge/Twitter]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.