Do You Know the Twitter Limits?


Updates

Although this article was written quite a few years ago, I still keep it up to date. I’ll put the updates at the top of this article. Ian

  • Updated (October 28, 2015) – Twitter have increased their follow limit from 2,000 to 5,000
  • Updated (August 12, 2015) – Twitter now allows you to send direct messages with up to 10,000 characters. The limit used to be 140 (the same as standard tweets)
  • Updated (May 31 2013) – Twitter updates the number of Twitter lists you can have and the number of people you can follow in each list.
  • Update (January 6 2013) – Added biography character limit & Image sizes
  • Update (January 6 2012) – Added lists and unfollow limits

You may be new to Twitter, or you may have been using it for a long time and hit the famous “2000” limit.  Most social networks have limits in place for the number of people you can “friend” or “follow”. For example, Google+ currently has a limit of 5,000 people you can have in your circles, and you have a limit of 5,000 “friends” on Facebook. This is to stop people, businesses or automated programmes from abusing the system.

On Twitter it used to be possible to bulk follow thousands and thousands of people in the hope that they would follow you back. This caused many Twitter accounts to abuse this and follow tens of thousands of people whilst not creating engaging content and not having many people follow them back. Not good. Twitter began back in March 2006 (in a geeky way I’m quite proud that I joined in November 2006), but it wasn’t until July/August 2008 that Twitter started imposing limits on the number of people you could follow. Twitter was having massive problems with spam (as Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone blogged  at the time). There was a lot of backlash at the time, and a lot of confusion (see this ZDNet post on Twitter Spam efforts goes overboardand this blog post by Brad Williams on Twitter Follow Limits Are Jacked). It’s commonly assumed that Twitter introduced a 2,000 following limit, meaning that you could only follow up to 2,000 people. However, this isn’t strictly true.

Following Limit

According to the author, Rob Brown, the magic number is actually 1,819! This means if you have 1,819 followers you can break through the 2,000 limit. Below 1,819 you are capped at following 2,000 people. Above 1,819 you can follow this number +10% (or 182). At 1,819+10% this means you can follow 2,001 people and you have just broken the 2,000 limit- hurray! This (as Rob Brown mentions on this post) means for every 10 people that follow you, you can follow 11.

Update – from October 27, 2015, Twitter announced they were increasing this follow limit from 2,000 to 5,000:

I haven’t tested this, but I am fairly sure that the same system will be used for this new limit. To break through the limit you will need to have more than 4545 people following you before you can break through the 5,000 limit. Let me know what you think!

Personally, I think this is a good thing. I’m a bit concerned when I see someone with a large number of people they follow- especially if they don’t have engaging content. Twitter is about engagement and networking- it is a social network after all. Having said that, following a large number of people isn’t always a bad thing. I love to follow new people, particularly those who Tweet about social media. I manage a large number of followers using Twitter lists- putting the people I find particularly interesting into my “awesome” list. Less regularly, I’ll check my main Twitter stream, and perhaps add some cool people to this list.

There is also a limit on how quickly you can follow people. Twitter have imposed a technical limit of following 1000 per day. Thank goodness for that! However as this is a technical limit, following that amount per day is likely to get you banned due to breaking Twitters Following Rules and best practices (you should read this if you haven’t already).

Unfollow Limits

So, how many people can you unfollow? This is more of a tricky question since Twitter doesn’t actually say. Twitter tools such as Social Oomph and Manage Flitter* have been asked by Twitter in the past to remove or alter their unfollow tools, because this could go against Twitter terms. You can read about Social Oomph’s take on this here. The issue is what Twitter calls “aggressive follower churn” i.e. following and unfollowing people in quick succession with the aim of rapidly increasing your followers.  You can read more on Twitter’s Rules page. It is still possible to bulk unfollow using Manage Flitter*, but you have to click on each person manually, and then click unfollow. Yes, there are various javascript hacks using Google Chrome, but to be honest you’ll want to stay away from this is it is likely to get you banned. So, is there a number on how many people you can unfollow at one time? Just use your common sense. I’ve unfollowed over 500 people in one day, but that was a one off- I wanted to unclutter my feed, but if I unfollowed 500 people each day I’d likely get banned.

Other Limits

There are other limits, as the Twitter support pages states. You can post up to 2,400 tweets per day (this is spread throughout the day- there are limits per half hour, so you can’t just post 2,400 all at once!) You can post up to 250 direct messages per day (thank goodness!) You can change your email up to 4 times per hour (why would you want to do that anyway?) You can have up to 20 lists (the total of the ones you follow and ones you have created yourself). As of May 30, 2013 you can now follow up to 1,000 lists (up from 20) and each list can include up to 5,000 accounts (up from 500). There are also limits when you use the Twitter API, but that’s another topic.

Twitter recently added the option of adding a header image. These have a maximum resolution of 1500×500 pixels (with a max upload size of 10Mb. You don’t have to upload your image at 1500×500, but it’s best to make it close to that to give a crisp and clear image. Certainly try make it above 640 pixels in width otherwise it will look pixelated. Finally, despite each tweet allowing a maximum of 140 characters, your biography can have up to 160 characters. How very generous of Twitter!

Summary

TypeLimitDetail
Max Characters per tweet140
Max Characters per direct message10,000
Tweets2,400 per daySpread across a 24 period. There are also separate limits per half hour periods, so you won’t be able to tweet all 2,400 in one go. The half hour limit is unknown for now. Retweets count towards the limit.
Direct Messages250 per day
Changes to email address4 per hour
Following1,819 Above 1,819 you can follow this number +10%.
Number of Lists1,000 You can only have 1,000 lists (this includes ones you have created and ones you follow) Before May 30th 2013 the max number of lists was 20
Number of people in a list5,000 Before May 30th 2013 the max accounts per list was 500
Number of people you can follow1,000 per day
How many people you can unfollowUnknownTwitter doesn’t state this, but you are likely to get banned if you unfollow people aggressively. I’d recommend sticking well under 400 unfollows per day.
Max Characters for biog160
Twitter Header Image Size1500×500(also a max upload size of 10Mb)

So, there you go. Remember, Twitter is a social network- these limits are for your and my protection. Do you think these limits are appropriate, or do you think they should be modified? Let me know in the comments below.

What the * means above…

If a link has an asterisk by it, it means it is an affiliate link and generates a little income for the site. If you end up signing up for the service and paying it may result in a small proportion going towards the upkeep of this site. You shouldn’t notice any difference in the sign up process.

The editorial line is NEVER impacted by these links. I will only ever recommend a product or service if I think it is worth recommending! If a product or service does not have an affiliate scheme, then we will still include it in the same way.

In the interests of transparency, here are the non-affiliate links which will not help iag.me:


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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a speaker, coach, social media consultant, web developer & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad and geek and is rather partial to tea, coffee & Indian cooking. Find out more



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182 Comments on "Do You Know the Twitter Limits?"

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Rajni Bhattiprolu
Guest
3 months 9 days ago

Hi Ian,

Very informative article. Just a quick one – We have around 12k followers and I want to send a personalised DM inviting them to support our campaign. Is it safe to use a twitter merge google doc? How many DMs will I be able to send in a day, is it a 1000? Does twitter penalize for mass DMs? I don’t want my company account to be suspended… 🙁

Any inputs would be highly appreciated… Rajni

Ron
Member
3 months 29 days ago

Thank you for the informative words, Ian.

Shannon Kartchner
Guest
4 months 3 days ago

Thank you! This was very informative as I am looking at building my Twitter account. I really appreciate the in-depth analysis of how Twitter monitors these things, and how they can impact my account.

Navas
Guest
Navas
5 months 2 days ago

Does not get notifications for my followers if i do like or rt or mention in my twitter, this happen with my all followers, iam sure they did not blocked me,

Shannon
Guest
5 months 21 days ago

I have been following 1,000 and unfollowing750 per day with mangeflitter for 4 months with abt 30k followers now. NO problems or warnings from Twitter. I follow for 7ndays before unfollowing.

Tim Jones-Yelvington
Guest
6 months 6 days ago

Is there a limit on the number of contacts that twitter can process when attempting a contact upload? I just established a new twitter account for the program that I manage, and I’ve tried everything I can think of to import the contacts from my work gmail (there are about 15,000 contacts) to look for folks to follow (I created a non-organizational gmail and imported the contacts… I created a yahoo email… I tried every web browser on my computer), and no matter what I do I get an error message when trying to import the contacts into Twitter. But if I try to use my personal gmail, which has more like 3,000 contacts, it works just fine.

Gregg
Member
Gregg
6 months 21 days ago

My account shows 107 likes in the top bar but none in the tab. Can’t figure out why and would like to delete all my likes. Is this possible?

Gregg
Member
Gregg
6 months 22 days ago

Is there a limit to the number of tweets I can like on an individual account? How do I get rid of liked tweets because not all showmup when I open the tab?

Jem
Guest
Jem
6 months 24 days ago

Are my tweets also deleted in my friends’ account if his/her twitter account was suspended ? For example I tweeted him/her 50 times, then if his/her account was suspended, would my 50 tweets on him/her also be deleted automatically and cannot be seen in my account ?
waiting for your response . Thank you 🙂

Aspirant Nine
Guest
Aspirant Nine
7 months 1 day ago

What do you think Is it ok to tag unknown people and organizations in an irrelevant photo ? Because I guess I was attempting to do it here.

Random
Guest
Random
7 months 5 days ago

Is there any limit on blocking?. I got too many fake followers so I’m trying block them all. Just want to know if there is any limit on the blocking.

Norch
Guest
7 months 12 days ago

how many times can we post the same repeating pictures until it spam????

magusat999
Member
8 months 26 days ago

If there are limits how do certain people get around it? Like Kanye West (or any celebrity), the rich and the famous who have millions of followers? What about someone who wants to utilize Twitter to BECOME famous? And why does Twitter dump your followers even when you aren’t violating their rules? At one point I had over 900 followers, then I loofged in and only had 16 – what is that all about?

tazyeen
Member
tazyeen
9 months 10 days ago

Hi
I am not able to tweet, follow, DM, favorite and my tweets are not visible to others when searched on twitter.
Though others are able to follow me, mention me and DM me.
When i try to tweet i am getting the following message:
“This request looks like it might be automated. To protect our users from spam and other malicious activity, we can’t complete this action right now. Please try again later.”
Please help me to bring my twitter account to normal.

Thanks

Shobhit
Guest
Shobhit
9 months 12 days ago

Hi
I am trying to import my gmail contact on twitter.231 people are present on twitter but when i click on follow all it gives me the following message.
There was an error following your contacts. and when i go to home i can see myself following 100 people.
In my knowledge i can follow upto 2000 people but why it it throwing this error.

Tim Jones-Yelvington
Guest
6 months 6 days ago

I have always had this same problem, I have never been able to use the “follow all” after importing contacts, it has never worked unled I go through the contacts one by one and select smaller groups of people to follow at a time. It’s immensely time consuming and irritating, especially if you’re using Twitter for work and just trying to build a follower base for you organization and care less about who exactly you’re following.

Fira Atiqah
Guest
Fira Atiqah
9 months 19 days ago

Hi. My tweets cannot be seen in other people’s mentions. why is that so? it happened on sunday night but came back to normal on monday but the problem occured again and people can only see my tweets to them in their mentions only after 24 hours. now the problem is still on going. help!

Norch
Guest
7 months 12 days ago

Did you post something repeating and repeating? If so your problem just like you’re spamming.
but idk the solution of this problem you might just need to look it up.

maimoyu
Member
10 months 2 days ago

Greetings,

Hi there,

Why I can not delete my tweets? I’ve deleted them up to 3K… And I would like to delete more… After that, I cannot view the rest remainder of my super super years of tweets. Why?
Waiting for the reply.

james
Guest
james
10 months 13 days ago

Can we create more than two accounts with different google email accounts?
I tried doing so but it keep asking for my number.. how do i skip from giving my number. Please advice.
Thanks!!

Bern
Guest
Bern
10 months 15 days ago

Ian lately I am getting error messages about DMs and cannot find any information whatsoever on this. We have a group DM of 4 people going, sharing links and photos as we don’t want it shared with everyone. After awhile it will cut me off from posting photos, even links and just lets me type messages. Any idea what this is? Thanks in advance. To solve the problem we have been deleting and starting a new DM thinking that it may be the size of the combined content. It’s only happened to two of us, the error message.

Yasmin
Member
Yasmin
10 months 18 days ago

Great article Ian, however, my experience with Twitter has been somewhat different.

My account is small (~ 93 followers, following about 139). However, whenever I attempt to follow back more than 4-5 people who have followed me Twitter blocks my account for ‘suspicious behaviour’. I then have to go through the tedious process of unblocking my account for behaviour that I don’t believe should be suspicious given the amount of activity.

This seems inconsistent with Twitter’s stated policies. Do you think my situation is an anomaly? I’d appreciate your thoughts!

Thanks,
Yasmin

Art
Member
Art
10 months 22 days ago

Is there a limit on how many people you can block? And if there is, and you exceed the limit, does it unblock your oldest blocked user?

Tim
Member
Tim
10 months 25 days ago

Great page Ian!

For nearly a year I’ve been following 500 per day on Twitter using ManageFlitter and also unfollowing anywhere between 200-400 who haven’t followed back. As I write, I have about 78.5k followers and I’m following about 77k.

Suddenly ManageFlitter is telling me that 250 new follows per day are being blocked, so I’m only being allowed 250 per day instead of 500 (although I know it should be 1000, but not unless you did it exactly every 24 hours). This has happened for over a week now, everyday.

Other than that, my account is working normally. The only thing I can see that may have changed is that my follower to followers count was closer. It would have been within a few hundred but has slowly stretched out to 1.5k which seemed like a natural progression to me. I’m wondering if for instance when the gap hit 1000, did it trigger a lower limit from Twitter? Any thoughts appreciated!

Q Willis
Member
10 months 24 days ago

And sorry for typos. Mobile safari doesn’t like this comment form at all. It shows my cursor somewhere else entirely and it’s hard to type, let alone edit all the mistakes it’s causing!

Q Willis
Member
10 months 24 days ago

I’m sure Ian will answer with more info. But I want stI point out that while you are waiting, there’s a comment and conversation on this post from back in 2012 or 2013. This issue was addressed back then. You might be getting blocked because you aren’t actually supposed to be doing that. It’s “frowned upon” to do bulk following/unfollowing for the purpose of getting followers. My guess would be they noticed what you are doing and are trying to discourage it. Clearly it’s worked well for you, but maybe look for other ways? I won’t follow people who do that, and if other people feel like I do, you might be losing some important followers to it. Good luck though. Twitter is an interesting little place!

John Smith
Member
John Smith
11 months 3 days ago

For the last two consecutive weekends, I’ve had EVERY tweet that was favorited by the same specific Twitter account deleted from my Notifications list. This has occurred even though they are still favorited on the same Twitter account’s Favorites list! We do follow each other and also DM periodically.

Is anyone aware of there being any cap on how many favorites a Twitter account can receive from another individual Twitter account before Twitter simply wipes them from their Notifications list, as has happened to me twice now? I’d really like to get to the bottom of this, as I do find it a bit frustrating!

Thanks in advance!

msweets
Guest
msweets
11 months 13 days ago

for the last 2 weeks I have lost overnight 47 following/followers per week! Do I have to unfollow everybody that doesnt follow me? so I can get new followers? How do they decide who they just cut I wake up and lose 90 followers within the blink of an eye ! Bummed!

msweets
Guest
msweets
11 months 13 days ago

so this is why the last 2 weeks I lose 47 followers/following? I have to unfollow all political candidates if I wish to get my followers? I had about 1910 following and 1900 followers next day both dropped by 47 followers I gained the same amount the second week and lose 47 again Damn!

Shiella Bordador
Guest
11 months 14 days ago

Hi,I have a question. I’m going to reach 3000 followers on Twitter. But when someone follows me (that will make my follower 3000) and then I followed em back,my twitter followers suddenly will turn to 2,101 followers ONLY. And I am currently following 1,896 people. WHY? Please,I hope you can help me. Thank you!

Alice
Guest
Alice
11 months 25 days ago

I have been on tweet limit for over a week

Matthew Reagan
Member
Matthew Reagan
11 months 25 days ago

Maybe you can answer this simple question. No one else seems to know anything….How many tweets can be sent at one time? (Example) If I had 1000 followers and I sent out a tweet, would all 1000 receive the tweet. Is there a limit in how many tweets can go out at once?

ana
Guest
ana
1 year 2 days ago

My friend can reply to people retweet and favourite things but she cannot make normal tweets. Can you explain what is happening please? 🙂

Zooelkhan
Guest
1 year 11 days ago

How many followers can follow me one day on my profile?

Ken
Member
Ken
1 year 14 days ago

I am new to twitter. I set up a list of 700, most are not following me.
If I want to twitter the entire list, is that doable? Or, do I have to do one, two, three at a time only?

Matthew Reagan
Member
Matthew Reagan
1 year 17 days ago

When I tweet out my (Give Forward) donation site, how many people will see it with one tweet?
I have 350 followers. Will they all receive it or do I have to send 2,3,4? more? And how would I do that?

Robert
Guest
Robert
1 year 20 days ago

I am new to Twitter and has just follow 86 famous people and i has reach the limit.
Now I need to enter my phone number.

“You have reached your daily limit for this action. Please add a phone to your account to remove the limit.”

Bridgette
Guest
1 year 23 days ago

I was trying to sign up with twitter but it keeps telling me they can’t use my number why would it say that iv never had a twitter account before

Rudy
Guest
1 year 27 days ago

Does my tweet sent to all my follower?

Ron
Guest
Ron
1 year 1 month ago

I’ve been getting the message “You have reached your daily limit for this action. Please try again later or add a phone to your account”. I’ve only sent about 60 tweets or so. What limit is it referring to and what does a phone number have to do with it? I don’t have a text-message capable phone, so using that number wouldn’t work anyway since they want to send me a text message to confirm. What does a Internet-based social networking site need subscriber phone numbers for anyway? Are they farming phone numbers for later sale?

David Pickett
Guest
David Pickett
1 year 2 months ago

I found another limit — if you are set so tweets go to your FaceBook wall, too many tweets in too little time and they start dropping the FaceBook copy. For instance, I go to click-to-give and click ten causes, tweeting each, daily, but my FaceBook wall does not show the last few. This block continues for a while, as I comment on the news. It really pisses me off, a broken promise. Some days I only get a short time to do my tweeting, and my FaceBook results are truncated.

D.A.R. Member
Guest
D.A.R. Member
1 year 3 months ago

Hi, Thank You for the Twitter 101, I have run into a problem though . I am not egotistical about who follows me but I love watching my news feed an gleaning the information and learning new things from who I follow. Recently I have noticed that many are following me each day but my number of followers does not change.I currently follow 2001 accounts and I am stuck at 923 followers for days now but many new followers on my notifications . Why is twitter not allowing my following number to rise when obviously I get from 4 to 10 new followers a day ?? WEIRD

kivicko
Guest
kivicko
1 year 4 months ago

hello!

i just wonder maybe if you know what is the limit of adding favorite per hour?

could u reply me at kivilcim.eray@gmail.com

thanks!

Jonathan Menon
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Hi Ian. Thanks very much for your post.

I’m finding a problem with adding people I follow to lists. After adding several people to my lists, whether through tweetbe.at (an online list manager) or through the Twitter web interface itself, it will no longer allow me to add more people. I’m trying to categorize my 600 followers into lists for the first time, and it’s difficult if there’s a limit of 20 or 30 at once.

Do you have any ideas about this? I’m using private lists and the people I’m trying to add are already members of other lists, so they haven’t set any prefs to prevent it (if such things exists, I don’t know.) Here are two screen shots to show you what I mean, with the error messages in purple boxes. (The Twitter web message says to reload the page, but that doesn’t solve it.)

I’d really appreciate your helping me. I know that you must be very busy.

Many thanks,

Jonathan
jmenon [at] gmail [dot] com

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DanFan57
Guest
DanFan57
1 year 9 months ago

I am currently following 27 people. Twitter says I am at the limit. What gives? I can find no way to ask them!

EdinburghEye
Guest
EdinburghEye
1 year 9 months ago

Hi, I was doing some mass pre-emptive blocking because of a couple of fairly aggressive hashtags. Some of the accounts I blocked seemed to be spamming or operated by bots, so I reported them as spam accounts: some had @ my twitter handle in with some abuse and got reported as “annoying”: but most of them were just accounts I actively did not want harassing me because I was using the hashtags they campaign on. I just got a message from Twitter saying “Sorry, you are over the limit for spam reports!” This was when I had *not* tried to report the account I was blocking for spam. I tried blocking a few more accounts, and got the same message every time, even though I wasn’t reporting the account, just blocking it. Is there a Twitter limit for number of accounts you can block? What is the Twitter limit for reporting accounts as spam accounts?

kate
Guest
kate
2 years 20 days ago

I got a follow limit and I cannot follow anyone. Will I can follow people again or should I create a new twittwr account?

Solid Website Design
Guest
2 years 21 days ago

Great article, thanks for being so clear and concise! It’s a tricky business making sure you stay within limits, and i suppose twitter doesnt want to be too out straight about them, as they are already having issues with some folks. Imagine if we all got in on the action!

Chika @ JTU
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Most helpful article, Ian! Thank you.

jon chan
Guest
jon chan
2 years 3 months ago

Hi, I’m wondering about the photo limits per account. I have tweeted on my account about 1,500 tweets since 2010-ish. Of these, about half of them have pictures. I’ve just noticed that many of my older tweets that used to have pics to them, now have no more pictures. For example, the link is still there (http://twitpic.com/32fc4q) but it is greyed out, and does not show the pic anymore. Intensely frustrating. Any way for us to access these pics again? Many thanks.

Peter A
Guest
Peter A
2 years 4 months ago

Is there a point where sending constant (respectful, unique) tweets to the White house result in the twits being treated as spam/ Many activists groups encourage supporters to constantly send tweets to President Obama or the White House etc..

Bree
Guest
Bree
2 years 4 months ago

I joined a Get more followers things and now it wont stop following people for me and i keep getting spam about it. How do i stop it?

Queen.
Guest
Queen.
2 years 4 months ago

im so mad at twitter right now i find it so stupid with the DM jail because it takes you forever to get out i’ve currently been waiting for over 2 hours please remove it

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[…] and this is how we come back to the problem of agressive following. (More about Twitter policy here and […]

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