Love ‘em or hate ’em, tweets are about to get a whole lot longer.
The expanded space is currently available only to a small test group, but the blog post announcing that test hinted the feature will soon be site-wide.
“Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone,” wrote Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara.
The company cited differences between languages as a reason for expanding the character limit. As an English speaker, Rosen noted that she often runs into the 140-character limit, forcing her to edit down her tweets.
“Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all,” Rosen wrote.
Ihara doesn’t have the same issue when he tweets in Japanese.
“This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French,” they wrote.
Market data collected by Twitter show that “when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting,” the blog post said.
Twitter users ― who use the platform to criticize, celebrate and inform ― erupted with opinions after the character limit expansion was announced. Many argued that the character limit made them better writers by forcing them to express their thoughts more concisely.
Others were worried that twice-as-long tweets would simply double the amount of space that internet trolls use to harass other people.
Equally concerning was how Twitter’s single most controversial user, President Donald Trump, would react.
Trump’s tweeted rants aimed at other world leaders, celebrities or entire organizations are a key characteristic of his tenure. He is also the first president to announce major policy changes using Twitter, including the ban on transgender people in the military.
People wondered uneasily if longer tweets would embolden the president to use Twitter for more serious announcements.