Slack Reverses Course on Feature That Could Be Used to Harass


Slack Technologies Inc. rolled out a new feature Wednesday designed to build out its email replacement service called Slack Connect, but had to backtrack almost immediately after backlash over its potential for abuse.

The new Slack Connect DM (direct messaging) functionality allowed paid subscribers to invite any other Slack user to a private conversation, accompanying their invite with a customizable message. The problem that many pointed out on social media was that those messages could be used to direct harassment at strangers online, without an easy option to block them because the invites come from a generic Slack address.

The company reversed course by disabling the custom invite option and said it’s heeding the feedback it has received and is committed to fixing the issue.

“We are taking immediate steps to prevent this kind of abuse, beginning with the removal today of the ability to customize a message when a user invites someone to Slack Connect DMs,” said Jonathan Prince, vice president of communications and policy at Slack. “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.”

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