Twitter to Keep Tweets Short and Sweet at 140 Characters

CEO Jack Dorsey calls the cap a “good constraint”

Social Media Site Twitter alt-right logo displayed on a mobile device
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Twitter’s 140-character cap is here to stay, CEO Jack Dorsey said Friday, after speculation that the social network could blow out the Tweet limit to 10,000.

“It’s staying. It’s a good constraint for us,” Dorsey said in an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show.”

Since its debut as a public company in 2013, Twitter has been caught in a conundrum created by its distinctive quirks: While things like the character-count limits and real-time feeds are what distinguish it from bigger rivals like Facebook, they also make Twitter unwelcoming for new members. That difficulty of hitting mainstream appeal has hindered user growth, and led to the ousting of ex-CEO Dick Costolo last year and return of founder Dorsey to the helm in October.

In February, the company vowed it would change broken, confusing elements that are driving users away, but Dorsey on Friday indicated the 140-character limit to tweets was essential to Twitter’s identity.

“We’re changing a lot, we’re always going to make Twitter better,” he said, after noting that the limit “allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

In August, the company lifted its 140-character restriction on direct messages members can send privately between each other, and tech-news site Recode reported in January that Twitter was considering a feature allowing tweets as long as 10,000 characters.