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Twitter CEO dismisses idea of expanding 140-character limit

LOS ANGELES - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the service's iconic 140-character message limit isn't going away.On NBC's "Today" show Friday, March 18, Dorsey said the company has no plans to expand the 140-character limit, which dates back to Twitt...

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Reuters

LOS ANGELES - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the service's iconic 140-character message limit isn't going away.

On NBC's "Today" show Friday, March 18, Dorsey said the company has no plans to expand the 140-character limit, which dates back to Twitter's launch in 2006. "It's staying," he said. "It's a good constraint for us, and... it allows for of-the-moment for everything."

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Twitter had been rumored to be contemplating rolling out the ability to post tweets with up to 10,000 characters.

Dorsey appeared on the NBC morning talk show to mark the 10th anniversary of the company. The exec, who returned as CEO of Twitter last fall, sent the very first tweet on March 21, 2006.

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In an interview with "Today" host Matt Lauer, Dorsey was asked whether Twitter censors users. "Absolutely not," he said. "Twitter has always been about controls. People can follow who they want, and it's our job to make sure they see the most important things."

Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter removed a video posted by Islamic terrorist group ISIS that personally threatened retaliation against him and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "I found it alarming," Dorsey told Lauer.

In keeping the 140-character limit, Twitter evidently decided that the feature is too much a part of its identity to scrap. The company has wrestled with the problem of making the service easier to use and more useful, while preserving the features its core user base loves. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Twitter's monthly active users declined by 3 million, to 305 million.

Dorsey, in a January tweet he posted as an image to get around the character limit, ruminated on the possibility of adding search and highlighting features to longer-form messages. "We're not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people," he wrote at the time. "As long as it's consistent with what people want to do, we're going to explore it."

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