Twitter drops 140-character limit for direct messages

The new character limit is 10,000, roughly seven times the length of the article below

Twitter's iOS app, pictured Aug. 12, 2015.

Twitter's iOS app, pictured Aug. 12, 2015.

Now you can really vent next time you want to say something privately on Twitter.

The company has removed the 140-character limit for its direct messaging tool, in a move that could increase its usefulness and keep users active on its site. The total character count for direct messages is now up to 10,000.

With the change, Twitter might become a stronger competitor in an industry jam-packed with other messaging services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Google Hangouts, and basic text messaging apps.

Removing the 140-character limit might prevent some Twitter users from using those other apps. The change arrives as the company faces persistent pressure to expand its user base and demonstrate value to investors.

Twitter has over the year made changes to its site, including other changes to its messaging tool, in an effort to make the service more usable. In January, it launched group messaging, to let users create chat lists of up to 20 people.

Twitter said it would begin rolling out the new change globally starting Wednesday across its desktop site, Android and iOS apps, as well as TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac clients.

The 140-character limit for tweets on Twitter's main service remains in place.

And if you're wondering how long 10,000 characters is, it's a lot, for a message. Including spaces, it's roughly seven times the length of this story.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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