Twitter has announced two updates that will effectively modify its current 140-allowable character limit in that only words will count. Historically, Twitter has limited tweets to 140 characters, counting every character towards the limit, including images, videos and URLs.
Media attachments such as images, GIFs, videos and will no longer count against the character limit. Currently, photos and videos take up twenty-four characters. Usernames will also be excluded from the character count when they are at the beginning of reply.
Frequently requested features are also being addressed. Users will now be able to tweet to all of their followers at the beginning of a tweet by using the “@” symbol. Previously, such tweets would only appear in the recipient’s feed.
While only recipients will continue to be able to receive replies, users can disseminate it to everyone by re-tweeting it. The new feature enables users to retweet themselves, allowing for certain replies to be viewed more broadly.
The higher character count is designed to enhance the usability of Twitter by providing users greater flexibility in composing tweets.
From an advertising compliance perspective, taking @names and images out of the count is perhaps even more significant. More space translates into the increased potential for representations to consumers that require disclosures. The changes effectively enabling increased brand exposure also have the potential to exponentially broaden the universe of consumers that might be misled by deceptive advertising content.
With all the recent regulatory attention regarding Federal Trade Commission advertising guidelines, including the design and implementation of robust disclosures, marketers engaging in online promotions and social media campaigns will have additional real estate to clearly and conspicuously convey applicable conditions, restrictions, limitations and exclusions.
The updates do not go as far as the drastic limitation changes previously considered by Twitter. Perhaps because it values the 140 character limitation, in part, so that Tweets can fit within 160-character SMS messages.
It is anticipated that changes will be rolled-out shortly.
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