Twitter experiments with doubling character limit to 280

Twitter experiments with doubling character limit to 280
© Getty Images

Twitter is experimenting with doubling the number of characters users can include in a single tweet, the company announced on Tuesday.

Some users will be able to write messages with 280 characters, double the normal 140-character limit, as the social media site considers whether to launch the feature more widely.

“This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a single tweet — something that would have been impossible before the limit was doubled to 280.

The company said in a blog post that it had noticed that users who speak certain languages are more impacted by the character limit than others. About 9 percent of tweets in English hit 140 characters, compared with just 0.4 percent of Japanese tweets, according to Twitter’s product manager Aliza Rosen and Ikuhiro Ihara, a senior software engineer.

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too,” the blog post reads. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.”