Slack’s new direct message feature recently got surrounded by controversies for allegedly being a tool to send abuse and harassment. The new feature comes under a cross-organisational toll names Slack Connect that enables a user with a professional Slack account to DM using the email address.
According to Jonathan Prince, Slack’s Vice President of communications and policy, “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”.
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What is the issue with Slack’s direct message?
The issue regarding the new direct message of Slack was pointed by Menotti Minutillo, a Twitter product employee. The new feature fails to block potentially abusive invites or comments. As a result, a person can use a professional Slack account as a tool for harassment provided he has the email address. Since there is no means to block the invites, it’s easy to convince someone to accept them.
According to Jonathan Prince, Slack’s Vice President of communications and policy, “Slack Connect’s security features and robust administrative controls are a core part of its value both for individual users and their organizations. We made a mistake in this initial roll-out that is inconsistent with our goals for the product and the typical experience of Slack Connect usage”.
What do experts say about Slack’s new direct message feature?
Being a workplace application, there are serious concerns regarding women dignity and cybersecurity. To send a direct message, users are asked to deliver an invitation email. These emails could be fastened with harassing texts and threatening comments. It is a challenging task to hinder these invitation mails as they come from a generic Slack address.
According to Jackie Singh, a former senior cybersecurity staffer in the Biden campaign, “Anytime a platform decides to create new and unexpected linkages between its users, trust and safety considerations must be worked in as part of the design. The way this feature has been released does not indicate sufficient thought was put into the user experience at scale”.
What are the corrective measures taken by Slack?
In response to the rising displeasure regarding the new direct message feature, Slack backtracked and announced to make improvements in the feature to avoid chances of harassment. It decided to remove the flexibility to append custom text to the invitation mails.
According to Jonathan Prince, Slack’s Vice President of communications and policy, “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… As always, we are grateful to everyone who spoke up, and we are committed to fixing this issue”.
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