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China’s Weibo follows Twitter in dumping 140-character limit

Wed 20 Jan 2016

Sina Weibo

As Twitter considers extending its character limit for tweets, popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo has made the decision to remove its own 140-character feature.

From the 28th of January the site will remove the character limit, amid reports that U.S. platform Twitter, which is banned in China, is discussing the same controversial move.

Sina Weibo counts more than 200 million active users, according to the company’s financial report released last year. It was once the go-to online forum for expressing public concerns relating to various spheres such as the economy, politics and other social issues.

A snippet of a letter addressed to its community of developers from the Weibo Open Platform was widely distributed over the site today. The text read that the new format is expected to be tested by ‘VIP’ users as of the 28th January, and rolled out to all users by the 28th February.

“According to Weibo’s big data, only about 10 per cent of original posts surpass 120 Chinese characters,” a spokesperson for the company reported. “But we are extending the text limit to offer greater choice and a better user experience.”

The spokesman explained that during the pilot stages, only 140 characters will be displayed in feeds, with a link to show more content should the post exceed the character limit. During the announcement, it was suggested that users would be able to type anywhere up to 2,000 characters in one message.

While Twitter’s plans to remove its iconic character limit has been much disputed on social media, the microblogging giant has yet to confirm its decision either way. According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, it is currently testing a 10,000-character limit with a proposed launch date toward the end of Q1.

Twitter is also considering getting rid of a further established feature in the hope of attracting new users. It has discussed changing the chronological timeline format – giving priority to ‘better’ content.


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