Twitter Set to Test 280-Character Tweets


Those who use Twitter would soon be able to tweet more than 140 characters. Twitter revealed on Tuesday new plans to conduct a test that will allow users to create and send tweets with up to 280 characters in different languages around the world. The test is currently ongoing for a few selected users.

The company, which hails from San Francisco, has made short texts one of its trademark features. However, users found their way around the limit, like posting photos that contain text. The company raised concerns of a dwindling popularity as a result of its tough stance on the number of characters a tweet should have. They noticed that many users find it hard to summarize their thoughts in one tweet, with only 140 characters allowed. This caused so many people to move to other platforms. They acknowledged that some people on Twitter have strong emotional attachment to the current limit.

A communication in January last year revealed that Twitter was performing some internal tests for lengthy tweets and considering texts as long as 10,000 characters to boost its client base. The company has been struggling financially recently. It reported no growth in the number of users and a net loss of $116 million for the first quarter of 2017. The company currently has about 320 million users. Facebook has 2 billion.

The decision to increase the number of characters was inspired by Chinese, Japanese and Korean Twitter users, the company’s project manager Eliza Rosen said. The characters in these languages often express more than what Roman characters can. This means that they can convey twice the size of information in one character as opposed to other languages such as English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. They believe that changing the limit will encourage more people to tweet not only in these regions but all over the world.

The test for 280 characters will be conducted for an unspecified period of time and will cover all languages except Korean, Chinese and Japanese. The company, however, did not disclose how many users will be included in the test. They also did not disclose when they are planning to begin the test and how many countries will be affected.

Twitter’s 140-character limit was inspired by the use of SMS messages. The founders, including the CEO Jack Dorsey, wanted smaller text boxes that could accommodate texts just below the SMS limit of 160 characters. Twitter hopes the new changes will make it easier and enjoyable for everyone to tweet.


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