Mar 24, 2021 - Technology

Slack rolls back parts of its new DM feature over harassment concerns

Slack logo.

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Slack rolled out its private-message-anyone feature Wednesday and immediately faced backlash.

The big picture: The company now says it's removing the ability to include a message with a request to connect to prevent harassment and abuse.

Background: "Slack Connect" allows you to request to send direct messages to anyone using the platform — even if you don't work at the same company (though you do need their email address for the request).

  • The initial rollout left many users wondering what guardrails were in place to protect them from unwanted messages and abuse, with some quickly finding ways to send unpleasant communications with the feature.

What they're saying: “After rolling out Slack Connect DMs this morning, we received valuable feedback from our users about how email invitations to use the feature could potentially be used to send abusive or harassing messages," Jonathan Prince, Slack's vice president of communications and policy, said in a statement.

  • "We are taking immediate steps to prevent this kind of abuse, beginning today with the removal of the ability to customize a message when a user invites someone to Slack Connect DMs."
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