NEW YORK, November 7, 2017 – Social media giant Twitter announced that they are expanding to 280 characters today in several languages including English. The plan was first announced in September, explaining that it would allow users to express their thoughts more clearly without running out of room.
The company said that those who tweet in Japanese, Korean and Chinese are now able to express double the information in a single character, compared to those who speak English, Spanish, Portugese or French.
The company’s plan received much controversy. Many users claimed that the increase to 280 characters would make tweets less readable. Others claim Twitter implemented it as a way to divert its attention from more serious issues it has become known for such as harassment and bullying.Twitter recently updated its rules to be more explicit in its definitions and policies towards harassment, threats, and adult content.
A poll found that more Americans were in favor of the increase character limit than opposed to it. They claim that those who had more room to tweet received more likes, retweets and mentions, gained more followers, and spent more time on Twitter. However, it didn’t support these findings with hard data. Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen released a statement:
“‘During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behavior normalized,’ Rosen said. ‘We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people tweeted below 140 most of the time, and the brevity of Twitter remained.'”
According to the company, only 5 percent of tweets sent from people in the 280-character test group were longer than 140 characters, and just 2 percent were over 190 characters. The change means America’s highest-profile Twitter user, President Trump, will have more space. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone noted that its most prolific user was not in the test group, however.
The social network’s character limit hasn’t changed since the company launched in 2006.