Updated March 24, 2021 at 2:35 pm ET: In response to concerns raised over potential for abuse, Slack has disabled the ability to customize the message inviting people to try the cross-org DM feature. In a statement to The Verge, Slack's vice president of communications and policy, Jonathan Prince, said the following:
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. 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.
What you need to know
- Slack now lets you send direct messages to anyone on the platform.
- The feature is intended to help people work across organizations.
- People seem to have already found flaws with the system.
Slack, the popular communication platform, recently gained the option to send direct messages (DMs) to anyone using the service. The feature is called Slack Connect DMs, and it is meant to help people work with partners or clients that are part of another company. The feature is available now, though options vary for for paid and free Slack customers. Paid users can initiate direct messages, but free users can only participate after someone else initiates. Both paid and free users will soon be able to initiate direct messages.
While the feature lets you message anyone across Slack, there are some limitations. First, IT departments have to allow the feature. Second, people have to accept an invite to start messaging through Slack.
These protections are in place to make sure that only those that want to chat with someone have to see messages. You, theoretically, shouldn't be able to be spammed with messages. You can, however, get harassed by message requests, at least according to Twitter user Menotti Minutillo.
According to Minutillo, if you send someone an invite to the message, the other person will see the contents of your invitation. That message can contain anything you'd like, including abusive language. As far as we can tell, you can't block these types of emails because they come from a generic Slack email address.
Hopefully, Slack plugs this hole in the system soon. The ability to connect with anyone across Slack could be extremely useful, but it's important that it works well.