May 17, 2016: Twitter Inc. is making a major shift by bending its 140-character limit to give users more freedom to compose longer messages.
Twitter will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for tweets, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change is expected to happen in the next two weeks according to the source that is not named because the decision is not made public yet. Links currently take up, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment.
On company’s outlook on new ways to display text on Twitter, Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in January that it’s a step in a larger plan to give users more flexibility on the site and would experiment based on how people use the service. For example, some people tweet screenshots of longer text in articles, or send many tweets one after the other to tell a story.
Twitter’s 140-character limit was originally adopted because it is was a common way for sending tweets while fitting all the information within a mobile text message as the service was first debuted in 2006, before the proliferation of smartphones.
The social media company was considering the raise of limit to as many as 10,000 characters earlier this year. But the quick, concise nature of Tweets has helped to differentiate from the competitors. Executives have spent the last few months emphasizing how Twitter is a destination for live events and discussion. Removing the character requirement for links and photos may encourage users to add more media to their posts.
Video made a priority by Twitter as part of its push for live events. Earlier this year, the company agreed to pay $10 million to the National Football League for the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games during the 2016 season, people familiar with the matter have said. Twitter is working on more content deals for streaming sports, political events and entertainment.
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