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Twitter Rolls Out Group Messaging

You can now message privately in groups as big as 20 people.

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Twitter rolled out a new group messaging feature Tuesday, meaning you can now participate in private Direct Message conversations with groups as large as 20 people, according to Jinen Kamdar, product director at the company.

The update is Twitter’s latest effort to get users to interact more with one another inside the app and even connect with users they’ve never met before.

Unlike regular direct messages, where you can only send a note to people following you, group messages allow everyone in the group to chat whether or not they follow one another. They simply need to be added to the group by someone they follow.

Twitter has updated its private messaging feature a number of times in the past year to help compete with the multitude of messaging platforms already in existence.

Messaging on Twitter is most popular among the app’s “power users,” so Twitter has never really competed head to head with more focused messaging services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. It would, however, like to keep its users from leaving the app in order to chat with others, so building out a comparable messaging service can help.

Twitter updated Direct Messages in November so users could send tweets privately to one another. Just over a year ago, the company added the ability to send and receive photos in private messages. (Despite the new video feature released Tuesday, you can’t send video in a private message unless it’s part of a tweet, says Kamdar.)

Worth noting: This is the third significant product change we’ve seen from Twitter in the first month of 2015, including the “while you were away” feature and Twitter’s new consumer video product.

Twitter has a reputation for shipping products slowly; it’s a trend that resulted in the company going through three different product VPs in 2014 alone. But current product VP Kevin Weil, who just took over the role in late October, appears to be moving at a faster clip.

The timing is also nice for Twitter stock holders. The company reports Q4 earnings next week and should have ample time to talk up all of its new features to eager investors.

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