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Sina Weibo drops its 140-character limit as Twitter ponders similar move

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chinese social network Sina Weibo is removing its 140-character limit. According to a report from China's Xinhua News, the company's CEO confirmed the plans today, with the new format — reportedly allowing posts up to 2,000 characters in length — set to roll out to "senior users" on January 28th and hitting all other accounts exactly a month later.

The change follows rumors that Twitter is planning to drop its own character limit, originally implemented so that tweets could be made via text. The company has already dropped the limit for direct messages, but it's still not clear how it might introduce longer tweets. Rather than simply extending the character limit, it's possible that the social network will allow users to simply embed chunks of text like they already do with images and videos. This would replace the need to screenshots sections of articles (or pages from users' notes app) to cram more information into a single tweet.

Will Twitter follow Sina Weibo?

This approach seems to be Sina Weibo's plan. In a letter to developers shared by CEO Wang Gaofei, the company explained that after the change, users will still only see 140 characters per message in their feeds. They'll just be able to also click a link to show the whole post if it exceeds the original character limit.

Could Twitter adopt something similar? With the company's share price falling to an all-time low this week (amid widespread service outages), CEO Jack Dorsey will be looking to do something to attract new users and restore investors' confidence. Giving people the chance to post more content directly to the social network might just be worth a try.