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Twitter Rolls Out 280-Character Tweets to Most Users

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Tweet capacity doubled in almost all supported languages.

Twitter announced Tuesday it will double the character limits for tweets for nearly all of its users.

The company said by night, users in more than 35 supported languages would be able to use up to 280 characters per tweet, up from the 140-character policy that has defined the platform.

Twitter first rolled out the extended tweets to select users earlier this year.

“In September, we launched a test that expanded the 140 character {sic} limit so every person around the world could express themselves easily in a tweet,” Aliza Rosen, Twitter’s product manager, wrote in the announcement. “Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter.”

Notably, the change will not affect users tweeting in the East Asian languages of Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Twitter said the decision was due to research that showed those languages are able to convey more information using less characters compared to, for example, English or Portuguese.

The move to 280 characters has been controversial, with some users saying it will destroy the brevity that made Twitter entertaining. Others chose to make fun of the change.

“And that, dear grandchildren, is how World War III started,” a user named @realfacade1 tweeted.

“Do Americans honestly have the attention span for #280characters? I'm not here to read essays,” wrote @nosoupforgeorge.

In its announcement, Twitter said it had data to counter this criticism. The company said 9 percent of English language tweets reached the 140-character limit.

In testing the new 280-character limit, only 1 percent of users used all the space, while 2 percent used more than 190 and 5 percent used more than 140.

“We are making this change after listening and observing a problem our global community was having, studying data to understand how we could improve, trying it out and listening to your feedback,” Rosen continued. “We’ll continue listening and working to make Twitter easier for everyone while making sure we keep what you love.”

 

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