Sci-tech

Twitter expands new 280 character limit globally

Twitter expands new 280 character limit globally

Twitter is officially doubling its character limit from 140 to 280, with the change set to roll out globally in the next few days.

Users had also anxious that longer tweets would exacerbate Twitter's ongoing problem with harassment - more characters might mean more scope for abuse.

However, Twitter users - or, at least, a lot of them - did not sound off with the same level of enthusiasm when the news broke.

Twitter has rolled out its new 280 character limit worldwide, in a full global expansion of the feature, which first debuted to a limited group of beta testers back in September.

Users have already employed clever tactics to stretch beyond 140 characters, such as screenshots of longer messages or tweetstorms, a series of connected tweets. So Twitter chose 140 characters for the tweet, and 20 characters for the user name.

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At present, the character-limitation encourages "threads", where multiple tweets are linked to form the equivalent of a blog post. Twitter found that people with the expanded character limit spent less time editing their tweets. For reference, in the timeline, Tweets with an image or poll usually take up more space than a 190 character Tweet. "With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced - that number dropped to only 1% of Tweets running up against the limit".

The new character length won't apply to Japanese, Korean or Chinese-language tweets.

The company did not say when it would start allowing users to post 280-character tweets. The change is rolling out "over the next few hours", a Twitter spokesperson told International Business Times Tuesday afternoon.

Only five percent of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only two percent were over 190 characters. "We expect to see some of this novelty effect spike again with this week's launch and expect it to resume to normal behavior soon after", the company says.

"In our testing, we have seen strong engagement levels with Tweets that are above 140 characters but ultimately, the best Tweets will come down to quality of language and content, whether the Tweet is 80, 180 or 280 characters", said Leanne Gibson, acting managing director at Twitter Canada.


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