Sometimes people don’t think out their moves carefully. Sometimes businesses don’t either. That’s the case with Slack. There weren’t many people who weren’t second-guessing the workplace messaging app’s recent update. Slack Connect DM was quickly tweaked after it was rolled out over concerns it would allow users to be easily repeatedly harassed.
Slack Connect DM Update
While it would make sense for all messaging apps to work the same, they just don’t. They are each unique in their own way. Slack is unique in that it’s the go-to messaging platform for the workplace. With so many working from home over the past year, it’s easy to assume the app has been getting a workout.
On Wednesday morning, the Slack Connect DM was rolled out in an update. It didn’t take long for users to start complaining. Slack started experimenting with the feature last year. It initially allowed companies to create channels where they could message and share ideas with another like-minded company.
On Wednesday, the company assumably thought it had a great idea to let anyone with a paid account send a message to any other Slack user, regardless of the company they work for.
The work-from-home opportunities the pandemic provided made work messaging and video conferencing a hot commodity. Ilan Frank, Slack vice president of product, said the company is trying to set itself up to be the work messaging platform of choice.
“When someone opens up their phone, if they’re connecting with their friends, they click on Facebook or WhatsApp,” Frank said. “If they’re connecting with someone they work with, regardless of where that person works, they should be clicking on Slack.”
While Stack seemed like it was trying to create Connect DM to be safe, it simply wasn’t. The feature was opt-in, and you had to accept a request before receiving a message. However, the invitation email included a message from the sender. If you chose not to accept the email, there was nothing stopping the sender from resending it. If they were trying to harass you, they could do so repeatedly.
That can’t be what Slack had in mind with the feature. This was all figured out by users within hours of the feature being introduced.
Slack was listening. It acted quickly, most assuredly to the appreciation of all its users.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
“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. 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. As always, we are grateful to everyone who spoke up, and we are committed to fixing this issue.”
That’s certainly much of the issue right there: the ability to add a message to the invitation email. And Slack removed it from – Connect DM immediately. That will allow users to feel perhaps appreciated and certainly listened to.
At the same time, Slack is going to continue to make it work. It wants that work messaging service – all of it.
If you don’t want to give Slack another chance, take a look at these two Slack alternatives.