Twitter says this major shift aims to address “a major cause of frustration” of many users
Twitter – social networking service is testing allowing tweets to be expanded to 280 characters—double the existing limit—in the latest effort to boost flagging growth at the social network.
Chief executive of the company Jack Dorsey fired off what may be one of the first expanded tweets from messaging platform known for its 140-character message.
Twitter planned to leave the old limit in place for tweets in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean because internal data showed written characters in those languages packed plenty into the alloted space.
“This is a small change, but a big move for us,” CEO wrote, calling the previous limit was an “arbitrary choice. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet.”
A “small group” of users will see the new limits before Twitter decides on rolling out the changes more broadly, the company said.
“Trying to cram your thoughts into a tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain,” product manager Aliza Rosen and software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara said in a blog post. “We’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming.”
Analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research fired off a tweet saying: “Worried that we’ll lose the inherent glance-ability of the vast majority of 140-character tweets. More importantly, not the fix Twitter needs.”
Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter US President Donald Trump.
If Twitter goes through with this on a broad scale, it will amount to one of the biggest changes to its core service in the company’s 11-year history.
In its most recent quarter, Twitter reported its base of monthly active users was unchanged at 328mn compared to the first three months of the year and up just 5% from a year earlier.
People on Twitter welcomed the news and said raising the character cap was long overdue. Some people already resort to long strings of rapid-fire tweets, known as “Twitter storms,” to string together lengthy comment.