Twitter drops 140 character DM limit as CEO steps down

Twitter has steadfastly refused to give up on its 140 character brevity for public tweets, but is conceding with wordier direct messages. Rather than the current limit, DMs will be allowed at up to a whopping 10,000 characters – enough for a small novella, should you be so inclined – so that, rather than needing to split private conversations into chunks, those using Twitter as a private IM service will be able to fit it all into a single message. Meanwhile, Twitter has also announced a shake-up in CEOs.

The new limit will take effect in July, Twitter said today, giving developers of third-party apps for the service some prior warning that they'll need to make architectural changes to their software.

While you might think that the exponentially-increased limit is an indication that Twitter is loosening its grip on short messages, the company insists that nothing of the sort is happening.

"You may be wondering what this means for the public side of Twitter," Sachin Agarwal, product manager for Direct Messages at the company, wrote of the change. "Nothing! Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today."

The 140 limit was originally based on the technical limits of SMS on phones, which are just 160 characters in length at most. The 20 character difference was left to accommodate a username.

As for the exec-level changes, the company has confirmed that Dick Costolo has decided to step down as Chief Executive Officer as of July 1, 2015. Twitter co-founder – and current chairman of the board – Jack Dorsey will act as interim CEO while an official replacement is found.

Costolo will remain on Twitter's Board of Directors, but his replacement will face the difficult challenge of providing the company with a believable route to long-term profitability. While Twitter users continue to grow in number, effectively monetizing them has proved harder than expected.

In fact, Costolo faced calls by investors to step down on several occasions. Today, Twitter says it expects Q2 2015 revenues to fall somewhere in the range of $470 million to $485 million, while adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range of $97 million to $102 million.

SOURCE Twitter; Investor Relations [PDF]