Twitter Is Testing Audio DMs

by Alena Eager
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The follow-up to June’s voice tweets.

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September 24, 2020 2 min read

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Three months after releasing voice tweets for iOS, Twitter is experimenting with audio direct messages. In a statement to The Verge, DM product manager Alex Ackerman-Greenberg revealed that the social network will be testing the feature “soon” — starting in Brazil.

“We know people want more options for how they express themselves in conversations on Twitter — both publicly and privately,” he said in a 20-second voice message. The no-frills interface includes a play/pause button, “in-line recording experience,” and the ability to report messages, if necessary. 

Twitter in June introduced “voice tweeting”: the option to attach audio clips to posts. The idea, according to a summer blog post, is to “add a more human touch” to the platform. Start by typing a few links of text explaining your voice track, then press the “wavelength” icon at the bottom of the screen to record. Each clip captures up to 140 seconds of audio, but you can just keep talking to automatically create a thread.

The function, criticized for a lack of accessibility — particularly among the visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing — was later updated to make voice tweets more easily identifiable on the timeline, among other fixes.

That shouldn’t be an issue this time around: Twitter now has a “full-time accessibility team within product development,” design chief Dantley Davis told The Verge. “We also changed our product development process, so that accessibility is always considered during even the conceptualization of features.”

Related: Google, Twitter Take Further Steps to Curb Election Misinformation

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the news to PCMag, writing in an emailed statement that “there’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice features on Twitter will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike.” Other social networks — including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp — already allow users to send voice DMs.

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