Weibo announced its plan to expand the 140-Chinese character limit on messages posted on its platform to 2,000 characters. The company will start testing the new service later this month.
The Chinese, Twitter-like microblogging company will officially launch the new feature to its 500 million users after performing a month trial.
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According to the Chinese social network, the new service will not change the visual presentation of user’s timeline as it will only show the first 140 characters. Readers will need to click the “enter” button to see the entire message.
Weibo wants to offer users with better experience
A spokesperson for Weibo said only 10% of original messages posted on the microblogging site exceeds 120 Chinese characters based on the company’s big data. However, the company decided to extend the text limit to offer users with greater choice and better experience.
The spokesperson said the 2,000-Chinese character limit would be available to Weibo’s VIP members on January 28. The new feature will be available for all users on February 28.
Weibo once served as a popular platform for Chinese users who want to air their concerns on economic, social, and political issues. The Chinese government imposed restrictions, cancelled user accounts and removed posts it deemed politically sensitive. Technology observers suggested that the company imposed self-censorship and was responsible for some of the posts deletions and user cancellations.
Weibo is competing with other social media networks in China such WeChat for market shares. WeChat has more than 1 billion users.
Twitter Beyond 140
Weibo’s decision came after Twitter revealed that it was considering a 10,000 character limit for tweets.
Technology observers suggested that Weibo’s move added more pressure on Twitter to release the so-called “Beyond 140,” a new feature that would allow users to type as much as 10,000 characters in messages posted on its platform.
Twitter was reportedly planning to launch Beyond 140 by the end of the first quarter, but the microblogging company hasn’t set an official schedule. Sources indicated that it is currently testing the products.
Some Twitter users oppose the expansion of the 140-character limit, which makes the service unique from other social networks.