Twitter Testing Out 280-Character Tweet

Riley Eastbrook September 27, 2017
Twitter Testing Out 280-Character Tweet

Twitter announced on Tuesday it would begin a test with a random sample of users allowing them to send tweets that are as long as 280 characters which are double the existing cap, in most languages around the world.

The feature is only available to a select few at the moment and is not available in Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

The San Francisco-based company has stood by its short messages as a defining characteristic - like chirps from a bird, which is the company logo - even as users found ways around the limit, such as posting photos of text.

The current character limit was "a major cause of frustration" for some users, the firm said in a blog post.

"We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we're doing something new: we're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean)," Twitter explained in a blog post.

"Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone."

In a blog post on Tuesday, Twitter said its stress on brevity would never change, but that it had been wondering whether people could express themselves simply enough, hurting the service's popularity.

"Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet - we've all been there, and it's a pain," Twitter project manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara said in the post.

The employees acknowledged some users may have an "emotional attachment" to the current limit.

Twitter, which has become a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists, and political figures, including prolific tweeter US President Donald Trump.

In its most recent quarter, the microblogging website reported its base of monthly active users was unchanged at 328 million compared to the first three months of the year and up just five percent from a year earlier.

Its growth has failed to catch up with social network giant Facebook, which has some two billion users, and Facebook-owned Instagram, with 800 million.


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Riley Eastbrook
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