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Twitter is trying to make direct messages more fun by looking at Facebook Messenger

Twitter has added three new features to direct messages.
Image: getty images

Everything’s different, and yet it’s all the same.

Twitter has updated direct messages with read receipts, typing indicators (the three dots you’re probably familiar with from Messenger and iMessage) and web link previews.

The features come available to all Twitter users on iOS and Android over the coming days.

The company announced the news via a 38-second video shared on the microblogging site.

As seen in the video, participants in a group chat can see when a message is seen by everyone. Each user’s profile photo is shown when they are typing.

If that sounds like your worst nightmare, don’t stress. The setting is enabled on default, but Twitter users can turn the feature off in Settings under “Send/Receive read receipts.”

The read receipts and typing indicators, aka three dots, are only visible on iOS and Android. For those typing on desktop, read receipts will send, however. Link previews are available on the apps and on desktop.

If all of these features sound familiar, it’s probably because you are one of the more than 1 billion people who use Messenger or WhatsApp. Both of those Facebook properties offer rich media viewing and read receipts.

These updates come at a time when private messaging apps are on the rise for time spent, and as Twitter is struggling to retain dominance among other players. Indeed, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat and Instagram all rank above Twitter for number of users and time spent in app, Business Insider reported.

Still, Facebook’s Messenger has much more to offer with its integration with other services and experiments with chatbots.

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