Twitter is making a big change to its core product to double down on messaging

Twitter made a big shake-up to tweets back in November 2015, replacing the “Favourite” button with the “Like” heart.

Now it’s making another: Introducing a whole-new Direct Message button.

The button, which launches on Tuesday for both iOS and Android, sits next to the right of the existing Reply, Retweet, and Like buttons.

Pressing it will share the tweet via direct message with a person of your choice.

It’s a indication that Twitter intends to double-down on messaging, as it continues to tweak its core product in an attempt to revive its ailing fortunes.

Twitter’s stock has lost around two-thirds of its value in the last year, and CEO and founder Jack Dorsey is experimenting with big changes to bring in new users to the platform. On Tuesday, the company also announced that it had secured the rights to stream a series of NFL games — which it will likely use to showcase its dominance in “real-time” events.

Private messaging is an extremely hot area right now, and it is one that Twitter has largely missed out on. Facebook has WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Snapchat is built on direct, private messaging — but Twitter’s Direct Message (DM) feature has been relatively neglected.

The social network has been seeing growth in the number of tweets shared via DM in the last year, it says. According to product manager Somas Thyagaraja, the number of messages sent grew by 60% in 2015, “and the number of Tweets shared privately has grown even faster, at 200% in just the second half of last year.” The new feature will help Twitter capitalise on — and accelerate — this growth.

Previous changes Twitter has made to direct messaging included allowing group private messaging threads and scrapping the standard 140-character limit for messages.

Here’s a GIF, courtesy of Twitter, showing how it will work:


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