If anything, people are probably ditching the platform because of how toxic it has become. In recent weeks, Twitter has come under fire because it doesn't know what to do with President Donald Trump, whose tweets often come close to violating the social network's terms of service. Last year, the company did shut down the account of one of its most offensive users, Breitbart's former tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos. But that only came after he repeatedly violated user guidelines.
Trump, for his part, has used Twitter to threaten to destroy an entire country (North Korea), to make an insensitive comment about someone (Mika Brzezinski) "bleeding bad from a face-lift", and plenty of other morally objectionable things. For what it's worth, as BuzzFeed News reported, he doesn't seem to have access to the 280-character feature -- at least not yet.
But although the US president may be the highest-profile headache for Twitter, the company has a bunch more to sort through, like how to respond more efficiently to revenge-porn cases. Or how to make it easier for users to report harassment and act quickly to block abusive accounts, not just dare you to check out any potential abusive mentions from randoms.
Twitter said in a statement that safety is indeed a top priority, and expressed commitment to making the platform a protected place for free expression. The company added that the issue of online safety is best tackled with collaboration, noting that it will continue to work with its Trust and Safety Council and industry experts to solicit ongoing feedback. According to an internal report from July, Twitter is now taking action on ten times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year. Additionally, abuse on the site is now "significantly less" than it was a year ago; Twitter attributes the shift to improved response rates from its team.
As for the change to the character limit, CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he expected all the "snark and critique" for this experiment. "Comes with the job," he said. "What matters now is we clearly show why this change is important, and prove to you all it's better. Give us some time to learn and confirm (or challenge!) our ideas." The good news is that, if you're one of the people who isn't into the feature, there's still a chance Twitter could change its mind on the "new, still brief, constraint."
Before it decides whether or not it'll bring its new feature to everyone, Twitter says it will continue to test it with a small number of users and gather feedback first. Maybe while it does that, it can also figure out a way to let people edit their tweets, because all those new characters are probably going to make you more prone to messing up your tweets.