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Twitter could remove its signature 140-character limit


Twitter_logo_blueIt won’t be long before you can tweet sentences like the one you’re currently reading if Twitter releases a product it’s reportedly building.

Too subtle for you? That was 141 characters.

Twitter, the microblogging service that’s always capped tweet length at 140 characters, could scrap that signature restriction with a new product it’s building, according to a report fromRecode. The product would let users post “long-form content” to the social-media platform, according to the report, which cites unnamed people at the company.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment.

Removing the character limit could be part of a broader effort by San Francisco-based Twitter to reach a more mainstream audience, which in turn would help attract advertisers. Twitter interim CEO Jack Dorsey has acknowledged the service is too complicated to attract mainstream users. It can also be off-putting, with a cluttered interface and a user base that can border on the uncivilized. The company in July said 316 million people actively use the service every month. For comparison, Facebook said it has 1.5 billion monthly users and its photo-sharing service Instagram draws 400 million people a month.

Twitter has been working to extend its appeal by making the site more inviting, curbing abusive or threatening messages, and displaying tweets in Google search results. It also announced plans to revamp its front page and highlight videos and photos of live events.

Last month, Twitter raised the character limit on its popular direct message feature, which lets users communicate privately with each other. The limit for direct messages was raised to 10,000 characters from 140; Facebook’s Messenger, a similar service, has a limit of 20,000.

Twitter originally limited tweets to 140 characters because it worked with SMS mobile messaging. Some members of the Twitter community feel strongly that the limit should be maintained. Chris Sacca, among Twitter’s earliest and biggest investors, has called the 140-character limit “sacred,” while also acknowledging those constraints might turn off users.

Sacca in June wrote that 1 billion users “have tried Twitter and not stuck around.” He suggested that an integrated Web-publishing tool linked to tweets could allow longer posts and appeal to more users.

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