On Tuesday the social media platform Twitter, famous for forcing people to elucidate their thoughts in 140 characters, announced that it was considering doubling its character limit.
The German Foreign Office responded by tweeting “Twitter is considering 280 characters! Or as we say in Germany: four words. #Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.”
.@Twitter is considering #280characters! Or as we say in Germany: 4 words. #Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) September 27, 2017
The post has since been liked 14 thousand times. Responses ranged from “you guys have got funny interns” to “who said Germans don't have a sense of humour.”
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, meaning “beef labelling monitoring assessment assignment law”, was in fact axed from the German language due to a change in the law in 2013. It actually consists of four German words, as the German language is famous for making longer words by sticking several existing ones together.
Introduced by the Mecklenburg Western-Pomeranian state government in 1999 to organize testing of beef for mad cow disease, it was for a time the longest word in the German language.
Now the longest German word is almost half the size of its predecessor. Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung, which means third party insurance on your car, is 36 letters long.
Chief executive of Twitter Jack Dorsey announced the platform’s increase in allowable character limit on Tuesday so that users could convey more meaning and emotion.
But not all users will be able to tweet using 280 characters instead of just 140.
The company has selected a few accounts to test the new long tweet feature before it decides whether to launch it for all users.
The tech giant made the change after research found frustration with the 140-character limit among users.