Twitter to break SMS-created barrier – mulls raising 140 character limit

By Sarah Frier

(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. may be preparing to raise its character limit for tweets to the thousands from the current 140, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The maximum number of characters in a post could be raised to as much as 10,000, said the person, who asked not be identified as the changes haven’t been decided. A tweet that long would be roughly equal to a 20-minute speech. The number could be half that, depending on how users respond to trials, the person said.

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Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, who has been pushing the company to make the service more engaging, confirmed that Twitter is looking at new ways to display text, while adding that he expects most tweets to remain “short and sweet and conversational.” He noted that people are already sharing longer messages by posting screenshots of text, and that the company will experiment based on what people are currently doing.

“We’re not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people,” he said on Twitter. “As long as it’s consistent with what people want to do, we’re going to explore it.”

Read also: Twitter’s user growth continues to slow

Last month, Twitter began testing a new order that shows users the most relevant tweets first, instead of the usual format of displaying posts in reverse chronological order. In August, Twitter removed the 140-character limit for direct private messages sent between users. Dorsey, also a founder, has emphasized that the team should consider all options for making the product better, and that no features are sacred.

Twitter originally adopted the 140-character limit because that was within the cut-off point for mobile text messages — a common way of sharing posts when the service debuted in 2006, a year before the first iPhone went on sale.