Elon Musk, locked in a boardroom battle to acquire Twitter for $43 billion in a hostile bid, said on Saturday that the micro-blogging platform needs long-form tweets which is "way overdue". Twitter currently allows people to post in 280 characters.
Reacting to a follower's tweet thread, Musk said: "My most immediate takeaway from this novella of a thread is that Twitter is way overdue for long form tweets!" Earlier, Musk demanded an Edit button, and the micro-blogging platform announced that it is working on such feature that will allow users to correct errors in their tweets, albeit with some rules. Twitter launched 280 characters in November 2017 to all users in supported languages, including English. The company first announced the controversial plan to move beyond its traditional 140 characters in September 2017 with a small group of users.
Several Twitter users had argued that 280 characters would make Twitter less readable as the platform's defining characteristics is the brevity of posts. After revealing his 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter, Musk has been asking for several new features in Twitter, promising significant improvements. Musk also hopes to "open source" Twitter's algorithm in an attempt at transparency, which would aid the trust users have in the platform.
"Twitter has become kind of the de-facto town square. It is just really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they're able to speak freely within the bounds of the law," he said during a Ted Talk show this week. Musk said Twitter should open-source its algorithms and minimise the interventions it takes in policing content. "Any changes to people's tweets -- if they're emphasised or de-emphasised -- that action should be made apparent," he added.
"So anyone can see that that action has been taken so there's no sort of behind-the-scenes manipulation, either algorithmically or manually," he added. Musk also said that the underlying code behind the algorithm should be available on GitHub, so that users could inspect it themselves.