Twitter announced some new features, then temporarily crashed

Twitter Blue subscribers can now post 4,000 character tweets and see fewer ads—but the news was quickly overshadowed by tech woes.
Close up of twitter icon
Twitter Blue now has 4,000 character tweets and less ads. Deposit Photos

Twitter announced the latest phase in its ongoing attempt to sell users on a premium subscription tier—4,000 character tweets, and half the ads. But yesterday’s impending Twitter Blue perks were literally lost within many users’ timelines, as some of the social media platform’s basic functions collapsed for roughly an hour-and-a-half.

Beginning around 4:30PM EST, many users reported encountering an error message telling them they were “over the daily limit for sending Tweets.” Meanwhile, others reported being unable to send direct messages, retweet other accounts, and access the TweetDeck platform. “Sorry for the trouble,” the Twitter Support account tweeted roughly an hour into the problems, adding that they were “aware and working to get this fixed.” Most, if not all, functionality has by now been restored, according to multiple outlets alongside the outage tracker, DownDetector.

[Related: Twitter’s latest bad idea will kill vital research and fun bot accounts.]

For Twitter Blue subscribers in the US, that means they should be able to begin taking advantage of the additional tweet real estate space with up to 4,000 character messages. For the time being, however, at the moment it doesn’t appear you can save those lengthier thoughts to your drafts, or schedule them for delayed posting. Twitter’s announcement also made clear that, while the feature is paywalled behind Blue’s $8 per month fee, anyone can read, retweet, and reply to the longer posts once they’re live.

Thankfully, the mini-blog option will remain visibly capped at the standard 280-character limit, with a button to expand the tweet into its lengthier final form. As TechCrunch notes, however, the new impending blend of 4,000-character posts and tweet “threads” could easily muddy users’ timelines more than they already are. Blue’s additional new promise of a 50-percent reduction in advertiser tweets might potentially alleviate that issue, although even $8 a month might feel too steep a price for most people used to what has always been a completely free service.

[Related: Meta sues data-scraping firm for selling user data to LAPD.]

Last week, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that the platform would begin paywalling access to its application program interface (API), supposedly beginning today. The decision was widely met with criticism from users, who argued it would likely kill the robust ecosystem of entertaining and informative bot accounts, alongside hobbling many researchers’ projects. As The Verge reports, the Twitter Dev account announced the API free tier would remain live until at least February 13, after which time users would be limited to generating “up to 1,500 Tweets per month.” A $100 per month tier for basic access would also soon follow, offering “low level of API usage and access to the Ads API.”

Security experts and general Twitter users have long dreaded Twitter’s dizzying changes and challenges following Musk’s acquisition of the company in October 2022 and subsequent axing of over half the platform’s global staff force of engineers and developers.