Written by Staff Writer
13 Sep, 2016 | 5:00 pm
Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work, The Verge can independently confirm. Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform’s 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages.
Twitter first announced plans to stop counting extras like photos, videos, and user polls toward the limit back in May, but gave no firm date on when the shift would occur. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by The Verge. The date comes from two sources familiar with the company’s business, but plans for the rollout could change.
Another new adjustment to the character limit is that usernames will no longer count when they’re at the beginning of replies, giving users additional room for discussion. It’s unclear whether all of these changes will occur simultaneously; certain content types may gradually stop counting against the character limit in stages. But the company will at least kick off the move next Monday.
“This is the most notable change we’ve made in recent times around conversation in particular, and around giving people the full expressiveness of the 140 characters,” CEO Jack Dorsey toldThe Verge in May. “I’m excited to see even more dialog because of this.”
The company has previously considered dramatically extending the maximum length of tweets. But in January, Dorsey walked that back a bit and praised the 140 limit — originally implemented so that tweets could fit within SMS messages — as a “beautiful constraint” He vowed that Twitter would “never lose” the creativity, brevity, and speed necessitated by the character limit, even as it continues looking into new ways for users to express themselves more thoroughly beyond “tweetstorms” and screenshots of the iPhone’s Notes app. This approach stays true to that concise feeling while adding more convenience at the same time. Starting next week, the character limit will center around the message itself — not the media attached to it.
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