​China's Weibo beats Twitter to the 140-character limit lift: Report

Chinese social media platform Weibo will reportedly be lifting its 140-character limit on posts, allowing VIP members to begin typing up to 2,000 characters by the end of the month.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Weibo will be allowing users to post up to 2,000 characters, lifting the 140-character limit for its VIP members on January 28, local media has reported.

According to the South China Morning Post, under the social media platform's new directive, posts will display the first 140 characters and users will need to click on a dedicated "enter" button to view the rest of the post.

"According to Weibo's big data, only about 10 percent of original posts surpass 120 Chinese characters," a Weibo spokesperson told the South China Morning Post.

"But we are extending the text limit to offer greater choice and a better user experience. It will be available to our VIP members from January 28 and the rest of the public from February 28."

For the third quarter of 2015, the Nasdaq-listed company reported net revenues of $124.7 million, up from $84.1 million for Q3 2014. It reportedly has over 500 million registered users since its launch in 2009.

Monthly active users reached 222 million in September 2015, up 33 percent year-on-year; daily active users reached 100 million on average for same month, an increase of 30 percent over September 2014.

In China, Weibo competes with Tencent's WeChat which as of November last year had over 650 million active users globally.

In August, social media giant Twitter lifted the character limit on direct messages from 140 to 10,000. It was then reported earlier this month that Twitter was planning to bring this feature to its public tweets.

Recode reported that Twitter was building a new feature to allow users to send tweets longer than 140 characters, saying that Twitter was planning to launch the update in the first quarter of this year.

The online publication said that sources familiar with the company's plans expect the character limit to be 10,000 -- in line with its direct messaging service.

Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted a response to the 140-character extension, posting an image of his response that was over the character limit.

Whilst he did not explicitly address if Twitter was going to be increasing the character limit, he did say that the platform was not initially built around a character limit and that it was a feature that was added to fit into a single SMS message.

"It's become a beautiful constraint, and I love it! It inspires creativity and brevity. And a sense of speed. We will never lose that feeling," he said.

He did say, however, that if the text that appeared in screenshots -- like his Tweet -- was actually text that could be searched and highlighted, it would give "more utility and power".

"We're not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people. As long as it's consistent with what people want to do, we're going to explore it," Dorsey said.

Baidu Tieba, the communication platform from China's search engine giant Baidu, said it was going to stop monetising health-related forums last week after some groups had been monopolised by unqualified private hospitals and individuals.

It was alleged by a former administrator of the platform's haemophilia forum that fake medical advice was being given to its 5,000 members by a new administrator Liu Shanxi who was previously identified as a quack doctor, with the number of fake medical advertisements for curing haemophilia surging in the discussion group since Shanxi's appointment.

It was also alleged that over 40 percent of 3,259 forums on various diseases on Baidu Tieba had been sold by Baidu to commercial organisations and personnel including unlicensed hospitals and quack doctors.

Baidu admitted some administrators were seeking personal interests by publicising commercial information, and said it will halt commercialised operation of all illness-related Tieba forums, adding that it will invite non-profit organisations to run these groups to help patients recover.

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