LAS VEGAS — Everything is on the table for Twitter in 2016 — even the very principle that the company was founded on. Twitter may expand far beyond the 140-character limit for tweets to the upwards of 10,000 characters, Re/code reported Tuesday.
A version of the update that is currently being tested allows for Twitter users to click on a tweet and instantly see a longer version. The functionality could be similar to the “See More” button on Facebook or a “Read More” button in a news article. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
The effort not only allows people to share more on Twitter and but also keeps their attention inside the mobile app or website. Instead of clicking on a link to a third-party site, Twitter users would remain on the page. That draws more eyes on advertisements and more time spent, which Twitter has failed to compete on with Facebook and Snapchat.
The update also makes it less frustrating or confusing for a new Twitter user, who may not appreciate the traditional 140 characters. That limit had originated from the 160-character limit of SMS messages, which powered Twitter at launch.
As Wall Street investors criticized Twitter for its stagnating user growth, approving the experience for new and old users is crucial. “It's a very good move for TWTR to expand the characters to appeal to a larger audience. The stock has fallen considerably over the past year and is due to rebound in the near future,” said Khaldoon Ibrahim, CEO of the advisory firm MarketsCompass.com.
Twitter employees refer to the project as “Beyond 140,” Re/code reported. The company has been working to make tweets more data-rich, such as adding videos, gifs and expanded link previews. But this update would be the first major change in character limit.
That Twitter is considering breaking the 140-character barrier was originally reported in September, but analysts predicted it would be minor tweaks in not counting links or user handles against the count. The microblogging site is evidently considering much more than tweaks. The company's third-quarter earnings report had sent the stock plummeting by 13 percent.
Twitter users took to the social network to aire greviances, while others saw potential. Dan Pfeiffer, VP of Communications and Policy at GoFundMe and a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama tweeted:
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) January 5, 2016
With Dorsey back at the helm of the company, he’s been working to execute on major changes in an effort to woo users and advertisers. In November, Twitter changed the traditional star-shaped favorite button to a heart-shape and renamed the feature "likes" -- an endorsement feature that Facebook has made ubiquitous.
“The outside world really can't see this yet, but we've made massive changes in the time in terms of the product,” Twitter Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain told the Telegraph in September.
Dorsey “has been great in terms of challenging the teams on things that maybe we hold sacred and dear,” Bain continued.