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Twitter will leap into instant-messaging world with new app: report

Already testing direct messages between non-followers

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Twitter is about to add to the world's store of instant messaging apps.

All Things D reports the avian-themed social network has considered a standalone messaging tool that would allow people to exchange 140-character missives that don't appear on their Twitter timelines. If the plan comes to fruition, it will make Twitter a competitor for all manner of folks including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!

Any planned messaging app might strike trouble if it implements another new Twitter feature: the ability to send direct messages to anyone, not just folks you follow or are followed by on the network.

Twitter user Jim Connolly spotted the feature in the wild and Twitter has confirmed it's giving it an outing among some users.

The timing of the feature's release is less-than-ideal, because Twitter has also been forced to hose down claims of mass direct message spamming from hijacked accounts. The company has suspended the ability to add links inside direct messages while it sorts things out. ®

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