January 5, 2016

Twitter to drop 140 for 10,000 characters

Twitter to drop 140 for 10,000 characters

Twitter’s 140 character limit on tweets has long frustrated and challenged its most verbose users.

Now the company could offer a solution, according to tech news website re/code: the 10,000 character tweet, which could be available as soon as March.

Re/code reported Tuesday that Twitter has been studying how to allow users to say more, after restricting them to 140 characters for 10 years.

That limit was based on the capacity of the original messaging software used, and though frustrating for many, unleashed a tidal wave of ultra-concise commentary across the web.

Now every day more than 300 million regular Twitter users send hundreds of millions of messages — news reports, personal updates, advertisements, political pitches, photos and videos and, most often, just witty and innocuous comments.

Re/code says the company already allows 10,000 characters in a commercial product called Direct Messages, so the technology is no longer a barrier.

The company is testing a version that would still only display 140 characters in a message, but carry much more, and a reader would have to click on the tweet to see the rest.

The move is a part of Twitter’s efforts to expand its user base and advertising sales and other sources of income.

Twitter continued to lose money over the first three quarters of last year. In October it reported a third quarter loss of $132 million, on a disappointing 11 percent year-on-year increase in regular users to 320 million.

Twitter itself had no comment on the report Tuesday, but users were not entirely enthusiastic about the possible new limit.

“140 characters is not NEARLY enough to express my outrage that Twitter is raising the character limit to 10,000,” tweeted writer Brian Phillips in 111 characters.

“Twitter really going hard after those stubborn 300 million people who don’t hate it yet,” quipped Rusty Foster in just 87 characters.

Investors also did not take to the idea: Twitter shares were down 2.5 percent to $21.99 after the report.