Published: Wed, November 08, 2017
Science | By Nancy Frank

Twitter officially expands to 280-character limit in most languages

Twitter officially expands to 280-character limit in most languages

San Francisco-based Twitter said the new system, a major shift for the messaging platform known for its 140-character tweets, aims to address "a major cause of frustration" for many users.

The company announced on Tuesday in a blog post that it was rolling out the 280-character limit to all languages where "cramming" characters was an issue. SMS has largely become obsolete to Twitter users as smartphone technology has advanced.

Having only been rolled out to a privileged few when the initial experiment was launched in September, Twitter has now chose to let (nearly) all users avail of an extended 280 character limit in tweets, double the original character limit.

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According to BusinessInsider.com, Twitter chose to permanently expand its iconic 140-character restraint after users with access to the test spent more time on the platform and received more engagement, like retweets and likes, from their longer tweets.

The move was initially trialled in September, when selected people were given the ability to write longer posts.

According to Twitter, 9% of tweets in English hit the character limits. It is not yet clear how this method got past Twitter's automatic link shortening tools, but the tweet was treated just the same as if it were sending out a standard, reasonablysized URL. When Twitter rolled out the larger character limit, it noticed a drop in the number of tweets running against the maximum count. Since we saw Tweets hit the character limit less often, we believe people spent less time editing their Tweets in the composer.

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Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter said: "We - and many of you - were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280 character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space".

Only five percent of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only two percent were over 190 characters. We expect to see some of this novelty effect spike again with this week's launch and expect it to resume to normal behavior soon after.

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