Private group messaging is a feature Twitter is supposedly working on and that many have been waiting to come out for a while, but we’ve yet to see.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo alluded to private group messaging in an interview with Bloomberg about ‘Whisper Mode’ earlier last year, “There are frequently public conversations that you would like to grab hold of and take into whisper mode with a friend and say, hey, this thing has happened. Look what these people are talking about. What do you think about this, with a friend or more than one friend,” he said.
CFO Anthony Noto also mentioned the feature was coming back in September at the Citi 2014 Global Technology Conference:
And so when you use Twitter today, if you want to get conversations from a public environment to a private environment, you only can do that in a very singular way, one to one. But if the Green Bay Packers on Thursday beat the Seattle Seahawks, and I tweet a message that my friend to Seahawks crush the Packers go home, she said, a couple of my college buddies may reply to that. I am not sure I want to have a conversation in front of my boss and the rest of the 270 million global users about that conversation and they want to take that to a private setting which you could do through direct messaging. Today you only can do that one to one as opposed to one to many. So that’s an example of innovation around sharing or expression that we could pursue over time and that would be the fourth pillar.
What’s the holdup, Twitter?
DM in a simple one-to-one setting has been a confusing feature for even Twitter’s CFO. Noto accidentally tweeted what he thought was a private message on the social network about a possible acquisition for Twitter at the end of November:
He’s not the only one to make that oops. Anthony Weiner sent out that now infamous dick pic to the world. What happens if a group member accidentally tweets publicly what they thought was part of a private chat?
Private group chat has been a popular feature on Facebook for several years now. Other sites and apps such as Privately or Slack attempt to work as a patch for the current lack of group DM’s on Twitter. But despite allusions to the addition, Twitter has yet to add this feature within its own product offerings.
It’s not clear if there would be a limit to the number of the group members or if it would be limited to 140-character posts like regular DMs and tweets, but it does seem this feature is coming at some point.
We have reached out to Twitter to find out if and when this feature will arrive but so far have not heard back yet. We’ll update you if we do.