Slack rolled out a feature Wednesday allowing users to direct message people outside their company—but the workplace chat app quickly admitted it made a “mistake” and pared back some of its functionality after users complained it could facilitate harassment.
Slack Connect DMs let enterprise users send direct message requests to any email address associated with a Slack account, though companies have to turn it on to enable it for their workers.
Users pointed out that when companies allow Slack Connect DMs, individual users can’t opt-out, and there aren’t any tools built into the product to combat harassment, allowing users to send abusive message requests without the ability to block or filter them out.
Menotti Minutillo, a Twitter product employee who tweeted about his attempt to test out the feature Wednesday, said Sack “needs to consistently invest in abuse tools for individuals,” and that the default position of “letting HR handle it is not a good one and is even more inexcusable as you launch cross domain features.”
In response to the backlash, Slack said it is already working to remove the ability to customize messages when a user invites someone outside their organization to use the feature.
“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,” Prince said. “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.”
According to a January 2021 Pew Research poll, 41% of Americans say they have faced some kind of online harassment, which disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic people, along with women. The share of Americans experiencing more severe forms of online abuse, such as physical threats, stalking and sexual harassment, has only increased in recent years, according to the Pew data, from 18% in 2017 to 25% in 2021.
Source :Rachel Sandler based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes.