Twitter announces plans to relax 140-character tweet limit

Twitter announced Tuesday it would soon give users greater wiggle room in tweets by not counting name handles and media attachments in its longstanding 140-character limit.

The change comes as the San Francisco-based company finds itself under increasing pressure from shareholders to attract new users amid near-flat user growth.

"In the coming months we'll make changes to simplify Tweets, including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer 'use up' valuable characters," the company said in a statement.

The 140-character limit has its roots in Twitter's original format, based on the 160-character limit for a mobile phone short message service (SMS). It was Twitter who made the 140-character message, with its SMS-style abbreviations, commonplace.

Complicated rules on replying to other users by means of the ampersand handle are also to be scrapped. Tweets that begin with a handle are currently not visible to all followers, prompting users to come up with the broadly used ".@" trick as a way to make the tweet open to everyone.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who took back the reigns of the company late last year, said in March the company would stick to the 140-character limit after media reports said it could be extended to as much as 10,000 characters.

While many Twitter users welcomed the changes, some pinpointed potential flaws in the plans.

"Really looking forward to the increased trolling potential now people can add 50 usernames to one tweet, thanks Twitter," wrote Emily Reynolds from London.

A statement from the company said that the changes will take effect "over the coming months."

Last update: Tue, 24/05/2016 - 18:16
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