Twitter has announced that it will relax the rules surrounding its 140-character limit, allowing users to add links, pictures, videos, other multimedia and user handles to their tweets and still have the 140 characters available to use for plain text.

The announcement follows a report in mid-May outlining the social media company's plans to loosen arguably the internet's most famous limitation. In an announcement blogpost, senior product manager Todd Sherman writes: "You can already do a lot in a tweet, but we want you to be able to do even more."

Two further changes coming to Twitter are the ability to retweet and quote your own tweets, and the ability to allow all your followers to see a response to another user, without having to place a full-stop or other character prior to that other user's Twitter handle. The full details are quoted below.

  • Replies: When replying to a tweet, @names will no longer count towards the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
  • Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, gifs, videos, polls, or quote tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your tweet. More room for words!
  • Retweet and quote tweet yourself: We'll be enabling the retweet button on your own tweets, so you can easily retweet or quote tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
  • Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around tweets that start with a username. New tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. That means you'll no longer have to use the ".@" convention, which people currently use to broadcast tweets broadly. If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.

"These updates will be available over the coming months," writes Sherman. "Today, we're notifying you and our developers, so that everything works as it should when we roll these changes out. The updates have a significant impact on tweets, so we want to provide our developer partners with time to update the hundreds of thousands of products built using Twitter's API."