Increased Twitter character limit facing online backlash

The social network is allowing a select group of users to tweet 280 characters

Increased Twitter character limit facing online backlash

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Twitter has doubled the character limit for tweets - and people aren't happy about it.

This trial allows a small percentage of users to tweet 280 characters instead of the usual 140.

The company believes the current limit means some users find it hard to express themselves.

Newstalk’s tech correspondent Jess Kelly said the plan is not going down too well with users:

“I think people like the pure notion of 140 characters,” she said. “We have information overload. People like that tweets are short concise and easy to read.”

“It is still only 280 characters max.

“It is only a trial; deep breaths; chamomile tea and you’ll be grand.”

In a blog post the company’s product manager Aliza Rosen said the original limit is more restrictive depending on the language you are tweeting in.

“This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French,” she said.

“Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English, but it is not for those tweeting in Japanese.

“Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting – which is awesome.”

The expanded 280 character limit is currently only available to a “small group” of randomly selected users.

“Twitter is about brevity,” said Ms Rosen. “It's what makes it such a great way to see what's happening.

“Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change.”

“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.

She said the company will be “collecting data and gathering feedback” from users provided with the new limit before deciding whether to roll it out for everyone.

The company has struggled financially in recent years, reporting a loss of $116m (€99m) for the second quarter of 2016.

The network's user base has also remained static at 328 million people – while its rival Facebook boast two billion users.