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Press this: Twitter adds button for direct messages

Social network makes it simpler for users to have private discussions with each other.


Twitter users now have an easier way to chat privately: Just push a button.

Find a tweet particularly interesting but only want to discuss it with a friend? Now you can simply click the new Message button to communicate discreetly with your pal.

The social network said Tuesday it has added the new feature to its direct-messaging service. The Message button is located right next to the "heart" feature on tweets.

"So now -- in just a few taps -- you can share unique Twitter content from your timeline right into your private conversation," said Somas Thyagaraja, a Twitter product manager, in a blog post about the Message button.

The addition comes as Twitter attempts to woo members by making itself easier to use, something even its top executives acknowledge is challenging. User growth has stalled at 320 million monthly active users and Twitter can't keep pace with the competition, like Facebook's Messenger, which has some 800 million monthly users.

The new button isn't the first time the company has experimented with making itself more appealing. Last year, Twitter raised the limit on direct messages from 140 to 10,000 characters. By comparison, Facebook's Messenger has a character limit of 20,000.

Twitter also launched group direct messages, which allow multiple users to chat at once.

The tweaks have had some impact on Twitter use. The number of messages sent among users climbed more than 60 percent in 2015, Twitter said Tuesday. The company also said the number of tweets shared privately grew 200 percent in the second half of 2015 alone.

How many tweets that growth translates into, however, is unclear. Twitter declined to say how many direct messages it handled last year.