Twitter limits tweets with links to 118 characters

Do you have trouble limiting yourself to the miniscule character count of 140 on Twitter? Well, get ready to edit your words further as the micro-blogging site is going to cut two more characters off from your tweet when you try to send out a link within it.

Twitter’s default link wrapper is now a little longer, eating into the character count available for you to write the actual tweet. While earlier you could tweet out 120 characters along with a link, you can now tweet out only 118 characters.

Most importantly, the character count is different for https and non-https links. For the former, the link character count has gone up from 21 to 23 and for the latter type of URLs, the character count is now 22 from the earlier 20.

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Twitter had first announced this change in December that went mostly unnoticed. Back then, Jason Costa from Twitter had mentioned in a blog post that Twitter was giving developers enough time to update their applications and therefore mentioned that this change would not come into effect for two months. Come February and the time is up.

Costa wrote, “On February 6, 2013, the GET help/configuration method will start to return the updated values for the length of characters returned in the following key-value pairs:

  • "short_url_length": 22,
  • "short_url_length_https": 23,
  • "characters_reserved_per_media":22”

Two weeks from that date on February 20, Twitter has started generating and returning URLs with the new maximum length.

Besides being able to maximise the character count in a tweet and tracking popular links, Twitter claims that having the wrapper helps users from malicious sites that engage in spreading malware, phishing attacks and other harmful activity. “A link converted by Twitter’s link service is checked against a list of potentially dangerous sites. Users are warned with the error message below when clicking on potentially harmful URLs,” according to the micro-blogging platform’s support sites.

Opting out of shortening links is not possible either. Using other link shorteners is not exactly possible from Twitter’s site either. Thankfully, if you use and tinyurl to track metrics about your posted links, you need not worry about the wrapper.

Earlier this month, Twitter had announced that it would start displaying search results older than a week too. Twitter announced that it has developed a way that will ensure that older tweets are displayed when you search for something, going beyond only the first few recent tweets.

This tool could be pretty helpful if you’re trying to find information that dates back a little. For example, if you were searching for tweets pertaining to the release of the PlayStation 4, you will be able to see speculative tweets dating back a week too.

The search results that are now being displayed still form only a small percentage of the toal tweets ever published, says Twitter. The micro-blogging site takes into consideration engagements such as favourites, retweets and clicks to determine which tweets to show. The site said that it would be looking at steadily increasing this percentage over time and will ‘ultimately aim to surface the best content for your query.’

Twitter is changing bit by bit and besides the slightly disappointing cut in character count, we’re loving the new Twitter!

Published Date: Feb 21, 2013 13:04 PM | Updated Date: Feb 21, 2013 13:04 PM