Perhaps you’re one of the rare employees who uses Slack exclusively to discuss work-related matters. But if you're like plenty of people on the professional messaging service, you're not above sending the occasional cat GIF, personality quiz, and yes, juicy piece of office gossip. Depending on how comfortable you are sharing sensitive information with the same tool you use to chat with your boss, you might not be thrilled about your DMs being seen by the wrong eyes. Luckily, there’s a quick way to check if your private Slack messages are actually private, as reported by Mashable.
While spreading office gossip on a public Slack channel, even if the person you’re talking about is not a member, is never a smart move, you may think you’re safer within the confines of a locked channel or a direct message. It’s true that so-called private channels aren't visible or searchable to outside users, but if someone ever demands to be granted access, suddenly that after-work happy hour you didn't invite them to is public knowledge. Direct messages are a little less conspicuous, but if your boss ever felt the need to, he or she could easily sift through them behind your back.
If your company is on Slack's Plus plan, Team Owners (usually your boss) have the ability to enable compliance exports. This means that all of your office’s Slack data, including locked channel messages and direct messages, is exported as a document that’s easy for him or her to search through or read in full. Slack users have no way of knowing if this feature is activated unless they check their office's account settings.
After visiting https://[your team name].slack.com/account/team, check the bottom of the page for the heading that says Compliance Exports. This section will tell you whether this function is enabled for your workplace. If it’s not, don’t be too quick to breathe a sigh of relief. There’s also a possibility that your company has integrated a third-party software into Slack’s API and is capable of archiving and reading private messages this way.
To see if that's the case, go to https://[insert your team name here].slack.com/apps/manage, where you’ll find the list of apps connected to your Slack team. Click the "access type" drop-down menu and select "can access messages." By looking at each app's App Info and Settings sections, you’ll see if any team members have given the apps permission to "access content in users' direct messages."
Even if everything checks out in your in favor, it only means all of your DMs up until this moment are safe. Your Team Owner could enable compliance exports whenever he or she feels like it and read all private messages sent from that point forward. So if you really can’t resist complaining about your boss’s choice to reheat tuna in the office microwave, maybe move that conversation to a different forum.