Tweeting gets harder: Chalk up two more lost characters

Twitter is making changes that will extend URL link wrappers by two characters, meaning that the 140-character limit will get a bit tighter.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman

Twitter said today that it will implement a change in February that will extend the number of characters used in its automatic t.co link shortener by two.

Such a move may seem insignificant to the average Twitter user, but it does mean that there will be two fewer characters available under the 140-character limit in a tweet.

Twitter had no comment on the rationale behind the switch, but on its blog for developers, it simply spelled out the plans. "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," Twitter wrote.

The upshot of the move, which will take effect on February 6, is that anyone embedding a link in a tweet using Twitter's standard t.co link shortener will have two fewer remaining characters for the rest of the contents of the tweet than they do now. Of course, there are other link shorteners, such as TinyUrl and bit.ly. But most Twitter users rely on t.co, given that it's the default, even if they don't know they do.