Twitter hopes to compete with instant messaging services like WhatsApp and Line with a new app that’s dedicated to direct messaging, AllThingsD reports. The company hopes the move will bring “the long-buried feature to the forefront” and place a new emphasis on its private messaging capabilities.
The news comes just days after Twitter introduced the ability for users to accept direct messages from people they do not follow — possibly in preparation for a new, standalone direct messaging app, which is currently being discussed internally, according to three people familiar with the matter.
It’s not completely clear how the app may work, or how much focus Twitter will place on it. But it’s thought the company could be looking to take on popular instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Line, and Viber in the same way that Facebook has with its own Facebook Messenger app.
One messaging service, KakaoTalk, which has expanded rapidly in recent years, was actually mentioned as a threat to Twitter in the social network’s recent S-1 IPO filing. It’s thought Twitter is also concerned about Snapchat after it found that more and more people are using the service to engage with others.
Twitter has even met with employees from MessageMe, another mobile messaging service, to discuss its plans, AllThingsD reports.
Direct messaging is already a part of Twitter’s existing apps, of course, and all third-party ones as well. But if the company was to launch a standalone messaging client and place a greater focus on private messaging, it could attract new users who previously weren’t interested in tweeting publicly.
Twitter already has over 200 million active users, but growth has been a big concern for the company in recent years.