Twitter Blue subscribers in the US can now post tweets up to 4,000 characters long rather than just 280 – but ‘Chief Twit’ Elon Musk is forced to pause ‘new feature development’ after outage
- Twitter Blue subscribers have to pay $8/£8 per month to get exclusive features
- Twitter rolled out 4,000-character tweets to subscribers on Wednesday night
- But the site suffered a bug around the same time which may have been linked
‘Chief Twit’ Elon Musk has made yet another massive change to Twitter, by increasing the character limit on tweets more than 10-fold.
People in the US who are subscribed to Twitter Blue, the platform’s £8-per-month subscription service, can now post tweets with up to a whopping 4,000 characters.
Twitter made the change on Wednesday night but a couple of hours later said the site is not ‘working as expected’ and that it was trying to get the issue fixed.
It’s unclear whether the significant update to the character limit caused the technical problem, which left some users unable to tweet or follow other accounts.
Musk later admitted: ‘Multiple internal and external issues simultaneously today. Should be fully back on track later tonight.’
On Wednesday night, Twitter announced that Twitter Blue subscribers in the US can post tweets up to 4,000 characters long rather than just 280
Two and a half hours later: Twitter announces the site is not working as it should and that it’s working to get the problem fixed
Twitter had originally announced the change to the character limit in a lengthy tweet totaling more than 1,200 characters.
Musk admits Twitter is hit with ‘multiple internal and external issues’ – READ MORE
Musk said that the app was experience a slew of technical issues on Wednesday
‘Need more than 280 characters to express yourself? We know that lots of you do… and while we love a good thread, sometimes you just want to tweet everything all at once,’ it said.
‘We get that so we’re introducing longer tweets!’
Twitter originally had a character limit of 140 before it was increased to 280 in 2017 when Jack Dorsey was still in charge.
But Musk – who bought the company and took over as CEO in October – thinks longer tweets will more convenient than writing and reading a long ‘thread’ – a series of connected tweets.
Although Twitter users who aren’t subscribed to Twitter Blue can’t post tweets over 280 characters, they are able to see tweets that do.
They just have to click ‘See more’ to reveal the tweet’s entire length, so that ultra-lengthy tweets don’t take up lots of screen space as people are scrolling their feeds.
Users are also able to reply to, retweet, and quote a longer tweet, whether or not they’re a Twitter Blue subscriber.
Musk is increasingly tweaking the social media platform and adding exclusive features to Twitter Blue in an effort to make people hand over their money.
Twitter Blue costs £8/$8 (not including VAT) per month and adds a blue tick next to a user’s name as an indicator that the account ‘has an active subscription’ and is not a bot account.
Musk (pictured) thinks longer tweets will more convenient than writing and reading a long ‘thread’ – a series of connected tweets
Twitter Blue also includes custom app icons, the ability to post longer videos, the ability to undo a tweet immediately after posting it, and, for subscribers in certain countries, the ability to edit tweets.
What is Twitter Blue?
Twitter Blue is the social media platform’s monthly subscription service that gives access to several exclusive features.
These include a blue tick next to an account name, custom app icons, the ability to post longer videos, the ability to undo a tweet immediately after posting it, and, for subscribers in certain countries, the ability to edit tweets.
It’s £8/$8 per month (not including VAT) and is available for users in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, India, Indonesia and Brazil.
And as of Wednesday it also includes the ability to post 4,000-character tweets if you’re in the US, although this is likely to be rolled out for Twitter Blue subscribers in other countries too.
It looks unlikely that 4,000 characters will become available to Twitter users who don’t pay for Twitter Blue, as this would discourage people from signing up to the subscription.
MailOnline has contacted Twitter for comment, although there haven’t been any replies from the firm’s communications department since Musk laid off its staff last autumn.
Because of the bug on Wednesday night, users began reporting seeing a message saying ‘rate limit exceeded’ – meaning they had hit the site’s limit for the number of tweets or new accounts followed within a certain time period.
According to Twitter’s help page, users typically have to tweet 2,400 times to reach the daily limit – surely enough for even the most ardent of Twitter user.
Twitter said it has the limits in place to ease the strain on the site and help it run more smoothly, but many users reported seeing the message while well below the limits – some said they had not previously tweeted that day, suggesting a bug in the system.
Twitter acknowledged the issue on Wednesday night, with the platform’s official support account tweeting: ‘Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We’re aware and working to get this fixed.’
Although Twitter users who aren’t subscribed to Twitter Blue can’t post tweets over 280 characters, they are able to see tweets that do (file photo)
The platform is enforcing limits for all users as part of efforts to ‘alleviate some of the strain on the behind-the-scenes part of Twitter and reduce downtime and error pages’.
Since taking over Twitter at the end of October and dismissing more than half of the platform’s 7,500-strong global workforce, experts have raised questions about the ability of Musk and the skeleton staff to keep the social media giant online.
Musk has mocked such suggestions, but these tightened restrictions suggest there are some concerns inside Twitter about the platform’s ability to handle high traffic rates.
The help page also says the new limits ‘may be temporarily reduced during periods of heavy site usage’.
Timeline of Elon Musk’s eventful time at Twitter so far
October 27: Musk is officially made the new owner of Twitter, and tweets ‘the bird is freed’.
November 1: Musk confirms plans to change the system of ‘Blue Tick’ verification on Twitter, for a reduced subscription fee of $8 a month.
November 4: Musk lays off half of Twitter’s workforce as an alleged cost-cutting measure, claiming he had ‘no choice’.
November 9: Musk launches the ‘Twitter Blue’ subscription service which verifies accounts for a monthly fee.
November 11: The Twitter Blue service is paused due to accounts purchasing verification and using it to impersonate brands and public figures.
November 12: Musk fires 80 per cent of Twitter contractors without warning.
November 15: Musk fires employees that posted negatively about him on the business messaging app Slack. The lawsuit between Musk and Twitter is dismissed.
November 16: Twitter staff are told they need to sign a pledge to be able to stay on in their roles where they would be ‘working long hours at high intensity’ or receive three months of severance pay, resulting in a mass exodus.
November 18: A news-ticker was projected onto Twitter HQ in San Francisco dubbing Musk as a ‘space Karen’, ‘mediocre manchild’ and ‘bankruptcy baby’.
November 23: A Twitter user reported that 5.4 million phone numbers and email addresses leaked on the dark web, before his account was suspended.
November 26: Financial Times revealed that 50 of the platform’s top 100 advertisers have paused their ads.
November 29: Platformer reported that Twitter is in the process of reinstating around 62,000 banned accounts that each have more than 10,000 followers.
December 12: Twitter Blue is re-launched with new Blue Tick reviewing process.
January 11: Twitter starts automatically redirecting users to the ‘For You’ tab – its algorithmic feed of tweets – every time they open the app.
February 8: Twitter expands the character limit to 4,000 for Twitter Blue subscribers in the US. Shortly after, the site encounters technical difficulties.
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