No, Twitter isn't removing its 140-character limit

A mysterious new feature under development by the social network has led to outcry over whether it plans to drop the trademark 140-character limit on tweets. 

Richard Drew/AP
The Twitter bird logo posted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

As of right now, the rumors that Twitter is dropping its trademark 140-character limit are just that – rumors.

Word of the potential change was first reported on Tuesday by re/code, which cited several people familiar with the company’s plans. They say the network is working to allow “tweets that are longer than the company’s 140-character limit.”

This does not mean, as some are predicting, that the cap on tweets is going to be removed.

Instead, the change will allow users to “publish long-form content to the service,” wrote re/code. “It’s unclear what the product will look like.”

Currently, users can already bypass the limit in other ways, such as adding pictures or embedding other tweets.

Some say this is just a natural step toward publishing “distributed content,” something Facebook already does by allowing news organizations to host articles directly on its website.

“Your Twitter feed will continue to look much the same as it does today,” suggested Slate’s Will Oremus. “The difference will be that, for certain tweets, you’ll have the option to click or tap a button (‘Expand,’ perhaps) to view the full article or blog post without leaving your Twitter feed.”

Twitter has not publicly commented on the matter.

The 140-character limit, which first stemmed from the 160-character limit imposed on SMS text messages, has long divided users into two camps: “too short,” or “just right.”

“It’s like Twitter has chosen 140 characters as the perfect length in which you can wind someone up and be misunderstood without context,” wrote one user.

“Without the 140 character limit, Twitter becomes a 2nd Facebook. And guess what I *don't* need?” wrote another. 

Last month, Twitter lifted the limit from its direct messages, saying it wanted to let users “express themselves” more adequately. And as the company works out how to expand its user base, the subject has also come under heavier internal scrutiny, according to re/code.

“For better or worse, pressure from stockholders who made the mistake of valuing the company as 'the next Facebook' is finally forcing it to make some bolder changes,” wrote Mr. Oremus. “Decry them if you will, but don’t make them out to be more drastic than they are.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to No, Twitter isn't removing its 140-character limit
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today