Twitter will remove the 140-character limit on direct messages from July, the social network has announced.
But don’t expect the same change to occur in public-facing tweets, as the company has been at pains to make clear that there are no changes coming to the main part of the service.
The change, which was announced ahead of time to Twitter’s developer community so that third-party apps can support it from launch, will raise the character limit on direct messages from 140 characters to 10,000. For comparison, Facebook Messanger has a character limit of 20,000.
“We’ve done a lot to improve direct messages over the past year and have much more exciting work on the horizon”, said Twitter’s product manager for direct messages Sachin Agarwal. “You may be wondering what this means for the public side of Twitter. Nothing! Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today.”
Twitter’s attitude to its direct messaging feature has varied wildly over its history. The service was all but abandoned for years, leading to many wondering if the company was about to remove it altogether. Read counts failed to sync, or reflect whether a message had been read at all; notifications were flaky, leading users to miss messages; and a bug in the spam detection feature prevented users from sending links in DMs for over a year, even as Twitter insisted that it was not a bug at all, but a valuable anti-spam feature.
But towards the end of 2014, internal feelings towards DMs apparently warmed. Longstanding bugs were fixed, and new features were introduced, including the ability to send pictures in DMs, create and join group DMs, and receive DMs from users who aren’t followers.
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