Slack is launching the ability for users to message any other Slack user, and there are no real safeguards against harassment.
Following its recent acquisition by Salesforce, Slack is launching a new system that is intended to expand the chat service’s reach to more people. However, as currently planned, the new Slack Connect is at best going to get users even more of the LinkedIn-style requests to connect.
“Simply send an invite to any partner and start messaging in Slack as soon as the other side accepts,” says the company in a blog post. “If you need a dedicated space for planning projects and looping in others, create channels between organizations, where members of invited organizations can freely come and go as needed.”
The intention is that, for instance, you can pick someone and “send your first message welcoming them,” as well as “describing what you’d like to accomplish.” Slack sees this as a way to people across different companies to work together.
However, that “first message welcoming them” appears to be seen by the recipient alongside the button to accept the invitation. That means a sender can choose to say anything at all in that first message.
It also appears that this “first message” is not even the same as the only message. All a Slack user needs is the email address of another Slack user, and they can repeatedly issue such “invitations” repeating the same harassment.
Just as there is nothing to stop them sending one harassing message, it appears that there is no way for a Slack user to block those emails from one sender permanently. There also is not presently a way for a user to opt out of the system.
Rather, there’s no option to block these users, other than to stop using Slack entirely. So Slack Connect’s aim of expanding the use of the service could be what prompts people to leave. Even more so than the times when Slack has become overloaded and failed to work correctly.