ByteDance seems to want to turn TikTok into a messaging network where anyone can contact you, even if they’re not on your follower list.
Potentially risky, the Direct Message option is still checked by default for accepting requests from people you’ve already contacted via direct message, or are on your follower list. As long as the TikTok account is ticked with the Private option, the user has minimal protection from sexual predators and other malicious people, who will not be able to initiate a DM session unless the Follow request has been expressly accepted.
But from now on, users who want to be able to be contacted by direct messages from absolutely anyone on TikTok can opt out of privacy with a simple visit to the Settings and privacy – Privacy – Direct messages, where you tick the parameter with the same name on the Everyone option.
To avoid any confusion, TikTok administrators explain each option separately:
- Everyone: anyone can send you a direct message. Messages from mutual friends and people you follow appear in Inbox. Messages from people you don’t follow appear in Message Requests. You can choose to accept, delete or report these messages.
- Suggested friends: suggested friends, including synced Facebook friends and contacts in your phone, can send you a direct message.
- Mutual friends: anyone who follows you and follows you back can send you a direct message.
- No one: you cannot receive direct messages from anyone. Note that if you update the setting for direct messages to Nobody, you will not be able to receive direct messages. You can still access your message history in Inbox, but you cannot receive new direct messages in those chats.
According to the description provided, there is still a barrier to incoming messages from strangers, however, as they appear as Message Requests, the text only becoming visible by explicitly accepting the DM session. Alternatively, you can permanently block the person trying to contact you and possibly report DM requests you consider abusive.