Twitter said to consider higher character limit for tweets

In August, Twitter removed the 140-character limit for direct private messages sent between users. Photo / Bloomberg
In August, Twitter removed the 140-character limit for direct private messages sent between users. Photo / Bloomberg

Twitter may be preparing to raise its character limit to the thousands from the current 140 for tweets, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The maximum number of characters in a post could be raised to as much as 10,000, said the person, who asked not be identified as the changes haven't been decided. A tweet that long would be roughly equal to a 20-minute speech. The number could be half that, depending on how users respond to trials, the person said.

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Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has been pushing the company to think of ways to make the service more engaging.

Last month, Twitter began experimenting with a new order that shows users the most relevant tweets first, instead of the usual format of displaying posts in reverse chronological order.

In August, Twitter removed the 140-character limit for direct private messages sent between users.

Dorsey, also a founder, has emphasized that the team should consider all options for making the product better, and that no features are sacred.

No Limits

Twitter originally adopted the 140-character limit because that was the cut-off point for mobile text messages -- a common way of sharing posts when the service debuted in 2006, a year before the first iPhone went on sale.

Now people on smartphones and tablets are using Twitter in new, richer ways.

Twitter is full of links to longer content, screenshots of articles, and, more obnoxiously, the tweetstorm: numbered tweets sent in rapid succession to complete a full argument or story.

The site is often peppered with user complaints that the 140-character limit keeps people from saying everything they want to say. Still, the rule has set Twitter apart from other social-media sites, prompting its users to be concise and creative with their thoughts. Many long-time users criticized the change, saying it would take away Twitter's most defining characteristic.

Re/code reported earlier on Tuesday that Twitter was considering the new limit. However, Aly Pavela, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Twitter, declined to comment.

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