Twitter to Stop Counting Photos and Links in Character Limit

Sarah Frier, Bloomberg:

Twitter Inc. will soon stop counting photos and links in their 140-character limit for tweets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment.

Strangely absent from this scoop: any mention of also discounting @-replies and user handles. Sometimes, discussions can become deeply nested with many participants, and the character count can impede the discussion,1 particularly if it involves people with longer handles.

A counterpoint to this might be that not including user handles in the character limit could allow some jackass to spam lots more accounts at one time. I think this could be solved by limiting the number of users anyone is allowed to mention — perhaps seven to ten might be a good maximum.

  1. It’s reasonable to ask whether Twitter is a suitable platform for that kind of discussion, to which I would answer “not really, but that’s how it’s being used and Twitter’s best changes have always been driven by the community”. ↥︎