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May 24, 2016, 11:11 a.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: www.nytimes.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Ricardo Bilton   |   May 24, 2016

Twitter is making a handful of changes to its 140-character limit.

Twitter said Tuesday that it will no longer count @names and media attachments such as photos, videos, or quote tweets towards the 140-character limit.

Tweaks are also being made to how Twitter handles @replies: Now, any tweet that begins with a username will be sent to all of a user’s followers, rather than just the user mentioned. Users no longer have to use the “.@” workaround, which accomplished the same end. It also lets users create reply threads that include up to 50 users. Last, Twitter said that users will also be able to more easily retweet their previous tweets.

The tweaks, which Twitter says will be implemented “in the coming months,” essentially make it simpler for people to create tweets with photos, videos and polls, as well as start and sustain conversations with others. All of that should make Twitter easier to use for current users and, ideally, help it attract new ones. (It should also make Twitter’s advertisers a little happier.) Twitter said it had 320 million average monthly active users last quarter, flat compared to the quarter prior.

The tweaks aren’t getting universal praise, however. Besides the dubious utility of lettings users retweet themselves, some users are also confused by how Twitter will treat @replies now that all users’ followers will see them by default. Essentially, Twitter will split @replies into two groups: Those that are replies to other tweets (which will only be seen by those in the conversation) and new tweets that start with a username (which will be seen by all of a user’s followers).

The change could also make life easier for Twitter spammers.

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