Facebook to limit statuses to 140 characters

Mark Zuckerberg announces a plan to make Facebook friends less annoying by limiting their ability to say things.

Mark Zuckerberg announces a plan to make Facebook friends less annoying by limiting their ability to say things.

Social media giant Facebook has announced plans to follow in the footsteps of micro-blogging site Twitter and limit statuses and comments posted by its users to no more than 140 characters.

The move, which Facebook hopes will streamline the site and satisfy users’ needs for less substantive discussion, will take place next week, and retroactively shorten all old statuses to comply with the new character limit.

“As of next week, the endless, infuriating clutter of your Facebook wall will be gone,” announced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “No longer will you have to stare at the seemingly endless messages of your friends as they whinge about their lives or attempt to say something intelligent.”

Zuckerberg said the new feature will allow users to feel like they’re having a meaningful dialogue without having to put in any of the effort.

“We spent a long time consulting our users about what they’d like to see,” he said, “and one of the things that came up time and time again was that people get really pissed off when their friends post something that has big words or more than two sentences. All they wanted to do on Facebook was share dumb jokes and cute anecdotes about their day, so when they see stuff like that, it just confuses and upsets them.”

He noted that this frustration is never faced by users of Twitter, where snappy one-liners are commonly accepted as real arguments.

“Basically, what our users said to us was ‘Look, if you’ve got something to say, and you can’t say it in less than 141 characters, then it’s probably not worth saying, and/or I won’t be able to understand it.’”

Public reaction to the decision has so far been positive, with users excited to see new limitations on the amount of things their friends can say.

“I’m offended by things that are long,” said 18-year-old Chase Nichols, who noted that he was regularly forced to respond to posts with the abbreviation tl;dr, which itself he thought was too lengthy to type in full. “Words are big, and they can hurt my head.”

21-year-old Evelyn Moore agreed, saying that she hated it when her friends dismantled her catchy, empowering proverbs with a whole paragraph of reasoned argument.

If the new, more concise Facebook is successful, the company says it will float the idea of removing statuses altogether, allowing users only to post pretty pictures.