TikTok has quietly expanded its direct messaging settings to give users a choice of who they want to receive messages from. The options are now: everyone, suggested friends, mutual followers, people you’ve sent messages to, or no one. Prior to this change, only people users had identified as friends or were recommended could send a DM to each other on the platform. The change was first spotted by The Information.
The company’s website explains that if you choose the “Everyone” option, that means anyone can send you a DM. Messages from mutual friends and people you follow will appear in your inbox, and messages from people you don’t follow will appear in Message requests. You can choose to accept, delete, or report these messages.
If you choose the “Suggested Friends” option, this means that recommended friends, including synced Facebook friends and phone contacts, can send you a DM. The “Mutual Friends” option means that anyone who follows you and you follow back can send you a message. If you select the “No one” option, then you can’t receive direct messages from anyone. TikTok notes that you can still access your message history in your inbox, but you can’t receive new direct messages in those chats.
To change your direct messaging settings, you need to tap the Profile icon at the bottom of the TikTok home screen. Next, you need to tap on the Menu button at the top and select “Settings and privacy” and then tap “Privacy.” From there, you need to select “Direct messages” and then you will be able to choose who you would like to allow to send you DMs.
The change marks the latest way that TikTok is expanding social features on its platform in a bid to compete against Instagram. Last year, the company introduced a new “Friends” tab that replaced the “Discover” tab. TikTok’s decision to move away from the Discover tab indicated that it was looking to offer a new way to recommend content based on your actual friendships. Last September, TikTok launched a BeReal clone called TikTok Now that encourages users to post content everyday at a specific time in exchange for viewing posts from their friends.
TikTok has already proven itself as a successful entertainment platform, and is now likely looking to expand its social features to get users to spend even more time on its app.