Twitter links and photos to no longer hog 140-character limit

17 May 2016

Twitter is making a major tweak to its tweets - photos and links will no longer hog up precious space within the 140-character limit

Twitter is about to announce a major change to its messaging structure to make it easier to use: links and photos will no longer take up any of the 140-character limit.

Micro-blogging service Twitter has always maintained it will keep its 140-character limit, even though it has abandoned such restrictions within its Direct Messaging platform.

But now, according to Bloomberg, it is expected to announce that photos and links will no longer count towards the 140-character limit in the next two weeks.

It makes sense, because links typically take up around 23 characters of the total 140-characters while photos take up around 24 characters of the limit.

Twitter traditionally wrapped every link with its own auto-shortened URL in order to cut down on malicious links, so the new structure will need to come with some robust new security features or present previews of URLs.

No limits to limits

The 140-character limit was originally devised when Twitter relied on SMS when it debuted in 2006.

While the company considered raising the limit to 10,000 characters, the concise 140-character structure is part of Twitter’s magic and the art form of sending out good tweets.

It is understood CEO Jack Dorsey wants to make Twitter easier to use and more sticky, and clearly the aim is to encourage users to send more media in their posts while keeping the 140-character limit as a kind of headline.

In the past year, the site has ramped up its video capabilities with features like pre-rolls, as well as enabling users to send multiple photos with tweets and group DMs, and streaming is also becoming part of the Twitter experience.

Earlier this year, it sealed a $10m deal with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday night games during the 2016 season, for example.

Twitter image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years