Twitter Blue subscribers can now send longer tweets of up to 10,000 characters. They also have the option to use bold or italic formatting. The announcement came just weeks after Twitter Blue’s character limit was increased from 280 characters back in February. This latest increase, along with additional formatting features, is designed to help Twitter to compete with newsletter platforms such as Substack – which Elon Musk has recently targeted .
It’s not the first time Twitter introduced features for long-form writing. Under previous leadership, the company was testing out a new Notes tool for authors and had previously acquired Revue Newsletter which was a competitor to Substack. Musk later canceled both of these programs.
Twitter’s intentions are not subtle. rebranded the “Super Follows”, a feature that allows users to subscribe individual accounts for exclusive content, to “Subscriptions”, advertising it along with new character limits and formatting options to allow creators to make money directly through Twitter. Musk promised that would not take any money users make from subscriptions in the next 12 months. Users in the US are currently the only ones who can monetize through subscriptions.
Twitter’s recent efforts to undermine rival platforms are less hostile. Last week, Twitter began to stop Substack users embedding tweets in their stories. Later, Twitter blocked almost all engagement for tweets that contained links to Substack, and flagged them as “potentially unsafe or spammy.” Twitter then walked back the throttling, while Substack launched a new Notes function which added Twitter-like features to its service.
Twitter faces a steep battle if it hopes to shed its reputation as a platform for short-form blogs. Some creators are interested in long-form content, but many Twitter users seem reluctant to go beyond the text snippets. data also shows that Twitter Blue struggles to gain subscribers. The service is estimated to have 290,000 subscribers worldwide, which is just 0.1 percent out of the 250 million daily active users Twitter reported last year .