Twitter to double tweet limit to 280 characters

This April 26, 2017, photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. (AP)
Updated 08 November 2017
0

Twitter to double tweet limit to 280 characters

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter announced Tuesday it would double the limit for tweets to 280 characters, a bid to draw in more users and boost engagement at the social network.
Giving users twice the space to voice their thoughts ushers in a new era for the online platform, whose hallmark 140-character cap had encouraged users to craft succinct missives.
“We’re expanding the character limit! We want it to be easier and faster for everyone to express themselves,” tweeted the site, which started testing an increase to its limit in most languages in early September.
The changes will be rolling out in all languages except Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, in which space limitations have not been an issue, Twitter said.
It is the first time the tweet character cap has been raised since Twitter was founded 11 years ago.
Twitter, which has been lagging behind rival social networks in user growth and struggling to reach profitability, faced a dilemma over the change in that it could alienate longtime users and transform the nature of the service.
Product manager Aliza Rosen said in a blog post that the test showed most people still used 140 characters or fewer, suggesting the fast-moving nature of Twitter will not change.
“Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter,” Rosen said. “We’re excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue.”

Rosen noted that in the first few days of the test many people used the full 280-limit because it was new and novel, “but soon after behavior normalized.”
As a result, “the brevity of Twitter remained,” she said.
While Twitter itself changed the way people communicate in the Internet age, doubling the tweet character limit promised to shift it once again, according to Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University.
“It will slow down the speed at which users consume information and will allow for more clarity,” Grygiel said.
“This might not be a bad thing during a time when world leaders are making military threats via the platform.”
US President Donald Trump favors the platform for making major policy announcements, as well as criticizing allies, taunting opponents and threatening North Korea with destruction.
He sent his inaugural 280-tweet while on South Korea as part of his Asia tour: “Getting ready to make a major speech to the National Assembly here in South Korea, then will be headed to China where I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory.”

Some users have worried that longer tweets could profoundly change the nature of the one-to-many messaging platform, which is popular with journalists and politicians but has failed to win the mass appeal of rivals like Facebook.
There was also worry that raising the character cap would give blowhards and abusers more room to spout.
“I will gladly give up my extra 140 characters if Twitter will delete Trump’s account,” author and civil rights commentator DaShanne Stokes said in a tweet fired off from @dashannestokes.
Stokes said Twitter’s move gives Trump “a bigger weapon with which to hurt more people.”
Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter Trump.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that longer test tweets got tended to prompt more engagement by others using the service.
“In addition to more Tweeting, people who had 280 characters received more Likes, Retweets, @mentions, Followers, and were more satisfied with Twitter. So, you’ll be getting 280 too — enjoy!” Stone tweeted.
Some analysts maintain longer tweets are not the fix Twitter needs, and may even change the appealing ability to take in messages with glances.
It also risks Twitter looking a bit more like Facebook, one analyst contended, and might prompt the leading online social network to respond to what it might see as a competitive threat.
Meanwhile, many users welcomed the news and said raising the character cap was long overdue. Some people already resort to long strings of rapid-fire tweets, known as “tweet storms,” to string together lengthy comment.
Last month, Twitter reported its loss for the past quarter narrowed as the company suggested it could reach profitability for the first time in the fourth quarter.
The update showed Twitter’s monthly active user base rose slightly to 330 million, roughly in line with forecasts.


Facebook says it was ‘too slow’ to fight hate speech in Myanmar

Updated 16 August 2018
0

Facebook says it was ‘too slow’ to fight hate speech in Myanmar

YANGON: Facebook has been “too slow” to address hate speech in Myanmar and is acting to remedy the problem by hiring more Burmese speakers and investing in technology to identify problematic content, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The acknowledgement came a day after a Reuters investigation showed why the company has failed to stem a wave of vitriolic posts about the minority Rohingya.
Some 700,000 Rohingya fled their homes last year after an army crackdown that the United States denounced as ethnic cleansing. The Rohingya now live in teeming refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“The ethnic violence in Myanmar is horrific and we have been too slow to prevent misinformation and hate speech on Facebook,” Facebook said.
The Reuters story revealed the social media giant for years dedicated scant resources to combating hate speech in Myanmar, which is a market it dominates and where there have been repeated eruptions of ethnic violence.
In early 2015, for instance, there were only two people at Facebook who could speak Burmese monitoring problematic posts.
In Thursday’s statement, posted online, Facebook said it was using tools to automatically detect hate speech and hiring more Burmese-language speakers to review posts, following up on a pledge made by founder Mark Zuckerberg to US senators in April.
The company said that it had over 60 “Myanmar language experts” in June and plans to have at least 100 by the end of the year.
Reuters found more than 1,000 examples of posts, comments, images and videos denigrating and attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims that were on the social media platform as of last week.
Some of the material, which included pornographic anti-Muslim images, has been up on Facebook for as long as six years.
There are numerous posts that call the Rohingya and other Muslims dogs and rapists, and urge they be exterminated.
Facebook currently doesn’t have a single employee in Myanmar, relying instead on an outsourced, secretive operation in Kuala Lumpur – called Project Honey Badger – to monitor hate speech and other problematic posts, the Reuters investigation showed.
Because Facebook’s systems struggle to interpret Burmese script, the company is heavily dependent on users reporting hate speech in Myanmar.
Researchers and human rights activists say they have been warning Facebook for years about how its platform was being used to spread hatred against the Rohingya and other Muslims in Myanmar.
In its statement on Thursday, Facebook said it had banned a number of Myanmar hate figures and organizations from the platform.