Twitter to stop counting characters in links and photos

The change could happen in the next two weeks. Photo / AP
The change could happen in the next two weeks. Photo / AP

Twitter will soon stop counting photos and links in its 140-character limit for tweets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn't yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment.

It's one step in a larger plan to give users more flexibility on the site. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in January that the company was looking for new ways to display text on Twitter, and would experiment based on how the people use the service. For example, some people tweet screenshots of longer text in articles, or send many tweets one after the other to tell a story.

Twitter's 140-character limit was originally adopted because it was a way to send Tweets while fitting all the information within a mobile text message -- a common way for sending Tweets when the service debuted in 2006, before the proliferation of smartphones.

The company earlier this year considered raising the limit to as many as 10,000 characters. But the quick, concise nature of Tweets has helped set the site apart from the competition. Executives have spent the last few months emphasizing how Twitter is a destination for live events and discussion. Removing the character requirement for links and photos may encourage users to add more media to their posts.

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