Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Twitter to Stop Counting Photos and Links in 140-Character Limit

Sarah Frier (via Dan Moren):

The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment.

It’s a step in a larger plan to give users more flexibility on the site. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in January that the company was looking for new ways to display text on Twitter, 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.


Nick Heer:

Strangely absent from this scoop: any mention of also discounting @-replies and user handles. Sometimes, discussions can become deeply nested with many participants, and the character count can impede the discussion, particularly if it involves people with longer handles.

Previously: Twitter Removes 140-Character Limit From Direct Messages, Twitter Won’t Raise 140-Character Limit.

Update (2016-05-26): Twitter:

In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters.

Michael Rockwell:

I’ve seen a lot of outrage in my timeline since this announcement — all of it directed toward the changes to mentions. Users don’t want cluttered timelines and I completely understand that complaint. But I think you’ll be surprised at how few tweets that start with a username are initiated without the reply button — I don’t think Twitter would have made this change if that wasn’t the case.


That “ceiling of 50 names” only matters specifically for replies. In order for usernames not to count toward your 140-characters, you’d have to reply to a thread that included 50 other users. It’s not as if spammers could just add 50 arbitrary names to a tweet and send it out without restriction.

Update (2017-01-23): David Heinemeier Hansson:

It’s been 8 months since Twitter announced links wouldn’t count against 140 limit. They still do. Oy.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Ben Kennedy

It's fascinating that a service predicated on artificial encumbrances is able to make news when it muses about altering some of same.

Leave a Comment