Twitter is testing a way to pack more content into its 140-character limit, but this particular test hasn’t been very well-received.
Cara McGoogan of The Telegraph reported that some users of Twitter’s flagship iOS application are not seeing other users’ Twitter handles when replying to users or groups.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, is one of the users in the test group, and she told McGoogan:
When I try to respond to a tweet, I have no idea to whom I’m responding. Without the security of knowing to whom I am replying, I cannot safely tweet. It is a strange feature for Twitter to roll out given its recent issues with harassment.
Twitter confirmed to McGoogan that the test involves “a subset of users,” and it addressed the test in a support post:
You may notice tweets in your timeline that have more than 140 characters or tweets that appear cut off. We have announced upcoming changes that will enable people to fit more into the 140 characters of a tweet. We are currently testing one of these changes, so that in replies, user names at the beginning of a tweet no longer count toward a tweet’s 140 characters. These tests may temporarily impact the way a tweet appears, but tweets will continue to be 140 characters. These changes will be available in the coming months to everyone, and you can read more about them here.
If you notice a tweet that includes more than 140 characters, the tweet may come from an account that is in a test group experimenting with our changes to the way replies happen on Twitter.
When this change launches to the public, people’s user names will no longer be automatically included in tweet text, and they will no longer count towards a tweet’s 140 characters.
Readers: What are your thoughts on this test?
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