Twitter today announced that it is going to "try out" a longer character limit, doubling the current 140-character limit to 280 characters.
The 280 character limit is going to be available in languages that are "impacted by cramming," aka all languages aside from Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
According to Twitter, most tweets in English have 34 characters while most tweets in Japanese have 15 characters, and Twitter users tweeting in English hit the 140-character limit more often, which can be a "major cause of frustration."
Twitter says the new character limit is "only available to a small group" of users at the current time as it gathers data and feedback on the impact of the change. It won't roll out to all users until Twitter is sure that it "works" for the Twitter community, but Twitter is hoping 280 characters will "make it easier for everyone to Tweet."
We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters - we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.
Twitter has had a 140-character limit in place since the service first launched in 2006, so a character expansion is a major change to the way Twitter works.
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
Before considering a character limit expansion, Twitter made several other changes to give users more room to share their thoughts. Starting in 2016, photo attachments, GIFs, polls, and other media stopped counting towards the 140-character limit, and in March, usernames no longer counted towards the limit.
Users randomly selected to be part of Twitter's beta testing group will be able to use 280 characters in their tweets starting today.