Twitter: #280 characters & trending

By Agency Published on Sep 27, 2017 04:04 PM IST

San Francisco: Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company’s famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. "It’s staying," Dorsey said. "It’s a good constraint for us."

And on Tuesday, the company took it back - for some people, at least. Starting Tuesday, Twitter said, it’s testing a feature to let some users double the amount of characters allowed in a tweet.

The 280-character limit will only be available to a small group of people on the site. When asked for more information, Twitter said it would be a ‘single-digit percentage’ of its 328 million users - so, millions - who will be ‘randomly chosen.’

The company declined to comment directly on how it’s choosing those people or why it changed its mind about sticking to its 140-character limit. But in a company blog post, product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro

Ihara said the team started looking into the restrictions of the 140-character limit after noticing differences among languages.

Some languages - specifically Chinese, Japanese and Korean - allow for greater expression in fewer characters, Rosen and Ihara said.

"We see that a small percent of tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese tweets are 15 characters while most English tweets are 34," the post said.

The 280-character test will roll out in all languages except for Chinese, Japanese and Korean.