Twitter may soon let users tweet beyond 140 characters

Twitter is considering expanding its tweet limit to as many as 10,000 characters, reports say. The new service may launch at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo/File
Twitter co-founder and Chairman Jack Dorsey speaks at a campaign fundraiser for Democratic Candidate for Public Advocate Reshma Saujani, in New York on April 24, 2013. Dorsey telegraphed that change is coming in a tweet he posted Tuesday, a few hours after the technology news site Re/Code reported Twitter is exploring increasing its limits on text from 140 characters to as many as 10,000.

Twitter Inc. is building a new feature that will allow users to post tweets as long as 10,000 characters, well beyond its current 140-character limit, technology news website Re/code reported on Tuesday.

An expansion of the limit to 10,000 characters would allow a tweet of more than 1,000 words with spaces between words and punctuation. For comparison, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was 272 words, and President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech was 1,366 words.

Twitter may launch the service toward the end of the first quarter but has not set an official date, Re/code said, citing sources familiar with the plans. They said the character limit could change before the final version of the product is unveiled.

Jack Dorsey, the company's co-founder, who returned as chief executive in October, in a series of tweets did not say whether Twitter would expand the limit. But he did call it "a beautiful constraint."

He added that the company has seen more people sharing screenshots of text, which are a way to get around the 140-character limit.

"We're not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people," Dorsey wrote in a screenshot of text that was longer than 140 characters.

"As long as it's consistent with what people want to do, we're going to explore it."

The micro-blogging website, in an attempt to keep the current look for the Twitter timeline, is testing a version of the product that displays 140-character tweets but expands to reveal more content when users click on the tweet, Re/code said.

Twitter has been experimenting under Dorsey to make the service more engaging.

In the few months since Dorsey returned, Twitter introduced the 'Moments' feature, added polls to tweets, rolled out a "buy" button and replaced its star-shaped "favorite" icon with a heart-shaped icon called "like."

Twitter has come under increasing pressure to boost user growth and ad revenue. It had its slowest user growth in 2015 - it now boasts just over 300 million users - and was eclipsed by photo-sharing app Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc, which surpassed 400 million users last year.

On Tuesday, however, some users took to Twitter to express their opposition to the possible longer tweet with the hashtag #beyond140.

"Just say no to #beyond140!," Andrew Wright tweeted.

Re/code reported in September that the new feature was in the works.

Twitter declined to comment.

This report clocks in at 407 words and 2,569 characters.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru and Yasmeen Abutaleb in San Francisco; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Maju Samuel, Stephen R. Trousdale, Andrew Hay and Dan Grebler)

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