Twitter may be changing the way its character limits work in an effort to make the platform more appealing to new joiners, as Jack Dorsey continues his struggle to revive user growth at the beleaguered social network.
According to Bloomberg, the platform will stop including photos and links as part of its 140-character limit. Currently, links are automatically shortened by the service, but still use up to 23 characters within a tweet, limiting the amount of commentary that users can offer when sharing content.
The change will reportedly take place in the next two weeks, as part of plans to give users more flexibility on the site, encouraging greater engagement from existing users and hoping to bring in new people to the service, which has seen user growth stall in the past few quarters.
Twitter has not commented on the rumours, but the company recently removed the character limit for direct messages on the platform, so such a move is certainly conceivable.
Twitter's original 140-character limit was adopted to enable people to send tweets using an SMS message, a common method when the service launched in 2006 and smartphones were considerably less widespread. In an age of apps and mobile browsers, the need for a hard limit is harder to justify, but many point to the quick, concise nature of Twitter as a feature that helps distinguish it from similar social media platforms.
Encouraging users to post more links and photos would support Twitter's push to cement its status as a destination for real-time commentary on live events. As the company aims to integrate more live video into posts through its Periscope unit and deals with large media firms, moves like this could prove essential for boosting engagement and bringing more people on board.