Character assassination! Twitter link switch cuts tweeting space
20th Feb 2013 | 19:51
Tweeting with a link? Only 118 characters for your message
A change to the way Twitter handles URLs has knocked two characters off the limit for those wishing to include web links within tweets.
The social network's method of automatically shortening links posted to the site will now leave 118 of the 140 characters available for the user's text accompaniment, instead of the previous 120 characters.
If a user is pasting a link from the secure 'https' protocol then the leftover tweeting space will fall from 119 characters to 117.
The change is to twitter's own URL-shortening service (although in many cases it doesn't shorten links) t.co, which transforms a link in to a pre-set number of characters.
The site claims that t.co protects its users from 'malicious sites that engage in spreading malware' and allows the number of clicks (hence relevance) to be easily calculated.
The t.co platform also overrides other link shortening services like fb.me and bit.ly meaning users are unable to use those to glean more space for their personal quips.
The change was announced to third-party developers back in December, but only rolled out today.
Back then the company posted: "We'd like to share some upcoming changes to our t.co link wrapper with the ecosystem. We're going to be extending the maximum length of t.co wrapped links from 20 to 22 characters for non-https URLs, and 21 to 23 characters for https URLs."
So, for those who considered themselves the masters of succinct tweeting, while still leaving a few characters for the odd retweet, it's time to go back to the drawing board. Your lexical finesse has become a little more restricted.