Think Twitter’s recently tested 280-character limit is too long? Over the weekend, two German users found a loophole and posted a 35,000-character tweet by formatting part of the post as a URL.
User Timrasett, along with HackneyYT, both self-proclaimed Twitter bug finders, posted the extra-long tweet on November 4. The tweet was in German, but roughly translates into this: “People! @Timrasett and @HackneyRT can exceed the character limit! You do not believe us? Here’s about 35K characters proof.” The tweet was then followed by a long string of characters formatted as a 27,024 character domain name followed by a 3,244 character directory name with a “.cc/“ in between, as another Twitter user pointed out. It’s unclear how the users worked around Twitter’s automatic link shortening tool.
Twitter temporarily suspended both users’ accounts and deleted the post, which on a platform designed for 140 characters, created some Twitter feed havoc. While the post is no longer on Twitter, the original still lives on the Internet Archive for users who want to actually see what’s probably the longest tweet yet.
Last year, Twitter began allowing users to post slightly longer tweets by no longer counting photos, videos, GIFs, polls, or quoted tweets as part of that 140-character limit. Then, earlier this year, Twitter began excluding usernames from that limit as well. While the changes still leave the limit at 140 characters of text, excluding usernames and photo links allowed users a bit more freedom in composing tweets — or in the case of the 35,000-character tweet, a lot more freedom.
Character length has long been a defining feature of Twitter, but it’s also one that’s come under debate several times. Twitter is currently testing a 280 character limit with some users, while in the past the platform has even considered 10,000-character tweets.
While users in favor of higher character counts want more space to have their say, many others oppose the idea — after all, short jokes are often the best ones. And since Twitter is designed for short posts, there’s no “continue reading” feature to collapse longer posts as there is on Facebook, so when users work around that limit by tagging a hundred Twitter users or posting 35,000-character links, users have to do a whole lot of scrolling to get past that single tweet.