Can You See If a DM Has Been Read on Twitter?

by David Nield

Twitter's direct message system works like a basic version of email. The DM inbox alerts you whenever you have a new incoming message you haven't read; however, it does not notify you when DMs you have previously sent have been read. Messages can be read and managed from the Web interface and most mobile apps and third-party clients.

Unread DMs

If you have an unread direct message in your Twitter inbox, the "Me" icon on the main Web interface glows blue. Click the icon to visit your profile and you'll see a blue spot by the mail icon, indicating a new unread message. Click the mail icon to view your latest DMs, sorted by contact. Mobile Twitter apps and other clients all handle direct messages in slightly different ways – the official TweetDeck client, for example, uses a separate column for DMs, with new unread messages marked with a blue dot.

DM Rules and Limits

Direct messages are limited to 140 characters, like tweets themselves. Links can be included but not photos or locations. Anyone you are following on Twitter, and who is following you in return, can send you a direct message. The Twitter network only allows for the most recent 100 DMs to be viewed, including both sent and received messages. Older DMs are archived and may be made available to users in the future.

Managing DMs

DMs are managed from the Direct Messages window that pops up when clicking the mail icon on your profile page. Click "New message" and enter the username of a Twitter user to send them a new DM. Alternatively, select one of the existing threads to see messages exchanged with a particular contact. Click the trash icon to delete a message or type out a new message in the box below.


Be wary of clicking on links sent to you over DM without checking with the sender first. Hacked Twitter accounts are often used to spread malicious links via DM. Twitter has occasionally experienced issues with DM functionality in the past – check the official @support account and the Help Center for updates. If you are receiving DMs from yourself, check the apps which you've given access to Twitter (via the "Apps" tab on the Settings page) and revoke any you are no longer using.

About the Author

An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.

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