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Twitter Effectively Makes Tweets Longer With Handful Of New Tweaks

Photos, polls, quote tweets, reply @names, and GIFs will no longer count toward Twitter's 140-character limit.

Last updated on May 24, 2016, at 11:40 a.m. ET

Posted on May 24, 2016, at 10:01 a.m. ET

So, Twitter says that photos and links don't count towards 140...

Twitter is making a series of product tweaks that will allow you to cram more characters into a tweet, and finally ditch the “.@” syntax when you want to start a tweet with someone’s username.

Within the next few months, the company will stop counting photos, polls, quote tweets, and GIFs toward its 140-character limit. It will also stop counting “@names” in replies toward the limit, with a ceiling of 50 @names. The announcement confirms a Bloomberg report, which revealed the details last week.

Twitter isn’t stopping there. It’s also going to show “new tweets” (meaning: non-replies) starting with a username to all your followers, so you won’t have to use the infamous “.@” anymore. And it’s adding the retweet button to your own tweets, so you can blast them out again if you’d like.

“What we're really looking to do now is to refine the core service and to take all the things that people love about the platform and really make it more intuitive,” Twitter CMO Leslie Berland told BuzzFeed News in an interview.

Tweets have long displayed more than 140 characters, thanks to cards, videos, and images. But these changes are still significant, expanding the amount of typing you can do within a tweet itself and further eroding the information density of the platform.

Twitter

That said, the changes aren’t anywhere close to the 10,000-character limit the company experimented with under the code name “Beyond 140.” Asked if Twitter is continuing to explore that, Berland replied: “We're going to continue to explore a ton of different options, which we have in the past. And we've taken all the feedback and the insights from people who use the platform, which is really what led us to the changes today, and we will continue to explore things.”

The openness to the 10,000-character tweet limit, and even the changes being announced today, don't exactly square with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who, speaking of the 140-character limit, said “It’s staying” back in March. “It’s a good constraint for us,” Dorsey told the Today show at the time. “It allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

When news of the current round changes first broke last week, Twitter’s user base celebrated, a rare occurrence for the platform’s notoriously change-averse population.

UPDATE

A previous version of this article stated links won't count towards the 140 character limit, but only media links will not count. The article also stated that @names don't count toward the character count, but that's only in the @reply context.


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