Facebook Stole Twitter’s Best Feature and No One Noticed


It’s the most famous number on the internet: 140. That’s how many characters you can use in a tweet, and it’s as core to Twitter’s brand as #hashtags, Trending Topics, and ignoring harassment victims.

You could argue that 140 characters is Twitter, and Facebook just stole it. Not directly, but they’re stealing the idea of this number, incentivizing users to keep posts to 130 characters. And most people didn’t even notice.

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Facebook’s New 130-Character Posts

You can now post status messages with large text and color backgrounds on Facebook. Your timeline is already littered with these things, and if you’ve posted one there’s a good chance it got more likes than usual.

But these posts have to be short. The crack team of Internet Scientists here at How-To Geek decided to find out how long these posts can be. Here are our findings, in GIF form:

It’s not an exact clone of Twitter: there’s no countdown ticker in the corner, and you can still post things over 130 characters if you want to.

But give your Facebook post a color background, and more people will notice it as they scroll through their timelines, making them more likely to actually read the thing and hit the “Like” button. This gives you a much-needed dopamine hit, the sort of positive affirmation that is half the reason anyone even gets up anymore.

So yeah: Facebook is using color backgrounds to incentivize users to keep their posts brief. They want to be ever so slightly more like Twitter.

I can’t explain why Facebook is doing this: it’s like bringing a Nerf…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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