Twitter is set to change the most fundamental rule for tweets. The social network announced today it has started a small public test that allows a few of its users to go beyond the current 140 character limit for tweets, allowing them to go as high as 280 characters.
Twitter has put in exceptions for its 140 character limit over the years, most notably for direct messages, but it has never allowed public tweets to go beyond that 140 character barrier. In a blog post today, Twitter stated that, according to its data, about 9 percent of its English users reach that character limit for tweets. That statistic suggests some users hit that upper barrier and may have edited their message so it can safely hit that 140 character limit.
Can’t fit your Tweet into 140 characters? 🤔
We’re trying something new with a small group, and increasing the character limit to 280! Excited about the possibilities? Read our blog to find out how it all adds up. 👇https://t.co/C6hjsB9nbL
— Twitter (@Twitter) September 26, 2017
Twitter also said that languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese can “convey about double the amount of information in one character” as other languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.
For instance, some 9 percent of tweets sent in English have 140 characters, while just 0.4 percent of tweets sent in Japanese hit the cap.
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
Twitter first wants to test the new 280 character limit on a smaller group of people, so that they can gather data about how the new limits are used. So if you don’t see the change in your own input box, that would be why.