Twitter will experiment with increasing the amount of characters that fit into tweets from 140 to 280.
The 140 character limit stems from Twitter's origins as a short messaging service (SMS) based offering; SMS text messages are limited to 160 characters, and Twitter whittled that down to 140 to fit in usernames as well.
Originally, our constraint was 160 (limit of a text) minus username. But we noticed @biz got 1 more than @jack. For fairness, we chose 140. Now texts are unlimited. Also, we realize that 140 isn't fair—there are differences between languages. We're testing the limits. Hello 280!— Biz Stone (@biz) September 26, 2017
Aliza Rosen, Twitter's product manager, explained in a blog post that the company's research showed that the 140 character limit is "a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English."
All languages apart from Japanese, Chinese and Korean are affected by 140 character "cramming" which reduces people's willingness to tweet, Rosen said.
The 280 character expansion for tweets will be tried out with a small group of users first before it's launched to Twitter as a whole, Rosen said.
She did not say which users would take part in the 280 character tweet trial.
The change is already causing an uproar on Twitter among fans of the social media network that appreciated the brevity enforced by 140 characters.
Nooooo. Who needs an addition 140 characters? I'll go to facebook for endless rants, twitter is perfect 140!— Deepork Chopra (@DeeporkChopra) September 26, 2017
Twitter is the favoured policy publication platform of United States President Donald Trump.
Despite this, the social network has experienced stagnant or declining user numbers, a collapsing share price and revenue falling.