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Twitter allegedly mulling standalone direct messages app

Want to send a direct message to some Twitter friends? There may soon be a standalone app for that.

According to AllThingsD, which cited sources familiar with the matter, the micro-blogging site is exploring the possibility of a separate direct messaging product.

The move would reportedly be part of a larger renovation of the feature, which already began this week via the limited roll-out of a new DM feature that let users opt in to receiving direct messages from any follower, even those they didn't follow.

ATD said the standalone DM app idea has been "kicked around" but it's not yet a done deal. As the blog pointed out, Twitter appears to be fighting back against personal-messaging apps like WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk, and even Snapchat, all of which have been growing in popularity recently. Rival Facebook also has its own chat app, Facebook Messenger.

Twitter has been quietly testing a new breaking news alert system, which functions strictly through direct messages. The Event Parrot account has been sending DMs with breaking news alerts since earlier this month. So far, messages have included an AP headline regarding the government debt-ceiling, and a CNN tweet about rebels kidnapping Libya's prime minister.

All the while, the micro-blogging site is gearing up to go public.