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Do You Know the Twitter Limits?

Do you know your Twitter Limits?

Although this article was written quite a few years ago, I still keep it up to date. 

Some notable updates:

  • March 2019 - Twitter announces a follow limit of 400 per day or 1,000 if your account is verified.
  • November 2017 - The number of characters in a Tweet has been increased from 140 to 280
  • May 2017 - Updated number of daily direct messages from 250 to 1,000
  • October 2016 - Media attachments, links & screen names in replies no longer count in 140 character limit 
  • October 28, 2015  - Twitter has increased their follow limit from 2,000 to 5,000
  • 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)
  • May 31 2013 - Twitter updates the number of Twitter lists you can have and the number of people you can follow in each list.
  • January 6 2013 - Added biography character limit & Image sizes
  • January 6 2012 - Added lists and unfollow limits

Twitter Limits Table

Type Limit Detail
Max Characters per tweet 280 Expanded from 140 to 280 in November 2017. As of September 2016, media attachments, links and screen names in replies don't count to the character limit.
Max Characters per direct message 10,000
Tweets 2,400 per day Spread 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 Messages 1,000 per day
Changes to email address 4 per hour
Following 1,819  Above 1,819 you can follow this number +10%.
Number of Lists 1,000  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 list 5,000  Before May 30th 2013 the max accounts per list was 500
Number of people you can follow 400 per day (or 1,000 for verified accounts) Standard Twitter accounts can follow up to 400 accounts per day. If your account is verified, you can follow up to 1,000 accounts per day. Thanks to Solomon (in the comments) for the update here.  See more here.
How many people you can unfollow Unknown Twitter 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 biography 160
Max length of video uploads 2'20"
(140 seconds)
MP4 video format with H264 format with AAC audio. Max upload of 512MB
Twitter In-Stream Photo Size 1024x512px Max upload size of 5Mb (or 3Mb for animated GIFs). Supports PNG, GIF or JPEG
Twitter Profile Picture Size 400x400px Max upload size of 2Mb. Supports PNG, GIF or JPEG
Twitter Header Image Size 1500x500px Max upload size of 5Mb. Supports PNG or JPEG
Number of Twitter accounts one phone number can be added to 10 See phone FAQs

The Follow Limit

You may be new to Twitter, or you may have been using it for a long time and hit the famous "2000" limit. Later Twitter increased this to 5,000.

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 programs 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 launched back in March 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 overboard and 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.

The Following Ratio

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 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 has 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). And since March 2019, Twitter says normal accounts can't follow more than 400 or 1,000 if your account is verified.

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 to remove their unfollow tools because this could go against Twitter terms.

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.

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 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 post up to 1,000 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?)

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.

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 1500x500 pixels (with a max upload size of 10Mb. You don't have to upload your image at 1500x500, but it's best to make it close to that to give a crisp and clear image. Certainly, try to make it above 640 pixels in width otherwise it will look pixelated. Finally, your biography can have up to 160 characters.

Summary

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.

357 Comments

  1. GD on March 1, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    My Twitter handle is a fan club page! I was getting 500 plus followers for few days normally I get 100 to 300 per day but then suddenly my follower count dropper and its not going up since a week my follower list is frozen!
    Help me with that it’s so annoying as im working hard to keep ppl updated never used any foul language or negative tweets!

    Is there any fix?



  2. Chris Green on February 19, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Having problems with the RT button too. Cannot RT every tweet that I would like to RT – the green button turns green but not for the ones I have RTd I don’t appear in the list of people who’ve shared it. Plus, those posts not shared don’t appear on my profile, and they have to.



    • Chris Green on February 19, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      For the posts I haven’t RTd I cannot even undo them when I press Undo Retweet.



  3. Chris Green on February 17, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Even having issues with the Retweet button. In the past day not been able to RT posts as I normally would. The Retweet button turns green but not every single tweet that I think I’ve retweeted appears on my profile then. They need to appear on your profile after you’ve hit the Retweet button- that shows that they’ve been retweeted successfully. Only certain tweets at the minute I can properly retweet. Also, for the ones that aren’t retweeted successfully but the Retweet button is still green, I cannot undo them when I try to. I press Undo Retweet and the green Retweet button doesn’t go back to normal. Never ceases to amaze you what glitches you can come across.



    • Ian Anderson Gray on March 9, 2020 at 11:56 am

      Hi Chris. That is weird! It doesn’t surprise me anymore, how many glitches these social networks have. A lot of it is down to the fact that they have hidden algorithms that try and determine what. is spammy behaviour. So sometimes Twitter doesn’t even know what is happening.
      But in your case, it sounds like a bug.



  4. Will Pfister on December 22, 2019 at 4:30 am

    I have an 8000 Twitter dm that wont send. Huh?



  5. Chris Green on November 4, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Do you know of a like limit Ian? I bet there’s a 1000 limit.



    • Ian Anderson Gray on November 4, 2019 at 10:49 am

      Hi Chris. I haven’t been able to find a published hard limit on likes from Twitter. That doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist though. There are also flexible limits for each user that are set by an algorithm. So if it detects behaviour it doesn’t like, it can impose a much lower limit on likes within a timeframe. It’s all hidden, and for these algorithm set limits, even Twitter employees won’t know what they are. Ian



      • Chris Green on November 4, 2019 at 4:12 pm

        As they as they are always temporary because I always liking lots. I find myself getting them often and it is frustrating waiting for one to go. I feel they can last up to 24 hours depending on your liking pattern. How long they last varies.



        • Chris Green on November 5, 2019 at 9:31 am

          I’m still on a like limit and are so frustrated at the moment. I know they are set by algorithm but when will it go?



          • Trevor O. on December 1, 2019 at 6:09 pm

            I have this same issue!



            • Chris Green on January 13, 2020 at 6:07 pm

              Seems to affects lots if they like loads. For the past week on average I’ve only been able to like 300 Tweets a day then I get hit with another stupid limit stopping me liking until the next day. It really is stupid.



            • Ian Anderson Gray on February 13, 2020 at 1:35 am

              Hi Chris – sorry for the delay in responding. I don’t know that I will be of much help as it sounds as if this is an issue within Twitter…



  6. Thalia on October 10, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    I’m doing research on the use of language in tweet’s reply post. one tweet can have thousands of reply posts, but when we open it and scroll it down, it only shows a few reply posts. is there any limitation in displaying someone’s tweet reply post? what is the exact limit? thank you in advance.



  7. brexjam on September 27, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you for this Ian, it helps a lot to understand the rules (which change with time).

    Thank you for keeping this post up to date 🙂



    • Ian Anderson Gray on October 4, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks! It’s hard to keep up with the changes! Ian



  8. Adebola on September 16, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Is there a limit to the number of people that can follow me on twitter daily?



    • Ian Anderson Gray on September 16, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      No, there is no limit on the number of people following you. Ian



  9. Celianor on September 1, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I ‘ve tried to restore my account since it was suspended but i didn’t receive any code via sms so i kept trying over again and again and now it says i’ve reached my limit how long do i have to wait before trying again.



    • Ian Anderson Gray on November 2, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Celianor. To be honest, I don’t know how long you’ll need to wait. It’s not happened to me and I haven’t found anything written down. Have you managed to get it sorted since? Ian



  10. Solomon on August 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    The website plainly says you can follow only 400 accounts daily if your NOT a verified account. If you ARE a verified account you can follow 1000. https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/twitter-follow-limit



    • Ian Anderson Gray on August 26, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Thanks so much for letting me know about this. I’ve updated the article



  11. Bill on December 30, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Is there a rate limit for likes? I have been hit by this a couple of times and the limit seems to last for a lot longer than an hour. I do some responses but not many. Today is a prime example. I responded a few times and was liking some posts then boom, “Sorry, you are rate limited. Please wait a few moments then try again.”.Tried logging off and back on, tried different web browsers on different platforms, tried the Windows 10 client over several hours without any resolution. Nothing in the linked email account about any infractions.

    Why is this happening and what can I do about it?



    • Ian Anderson Gray on February 21, 2019 at 6:27 am

      Hi Bill. There are soft and hard limits on Twitter. As far as I know, there is no hard limit for likes on Twitter (although there could be). In your case, you’ve hit a soft limit I think. Twitter uses algorithms to keep the integrity of the site. The algorithm has detected an issue with the number of likes you’ve made. Sometimes it can be over-zealous. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can say to help at this stage. Just wait an hour or two and try again.



  12. questionman on December 25, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    About the amount of the tweets I can see in one user’s page,I only can see about 800 tweets of each user,is that a limitation,too?



    • Ian Anderson Gray on February 21, 2019 at 6:23 am

      As far as I know, there is no limit on the number of Tweets you can see at twitter.com, but because of Twitter’s never-ending scroll, your browser can end up getting quite slow to load Tweets after a while.



  13. CLyons on September 19, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    What about ‘likes’ (♥️)? Twitter keeps turning off the likes a few seconds after I ‘like’ something, even after multiple attempts.



    • Ian Anderson Gray on September 19, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      I wish I knew. There doesn’t seem to be a limit for likes, but I bet there is a hidden one. I’ve noticed that issue too sometimes. Maybe you’ve hit a temporary limit on the number of likes. Come back in an hour and see if it’s fixed. Or if not, they’ve blocked you from liking which would be



  14. JM Kall on August 4, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    I have email notifications turned on for direct messages. It seems I only the get the first 50 (there are more) in my email each day. Is this a Twitter limit or something I can change in settings? I would like to have them all go to email.



    • Ian Anderson Gray on August 21, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Yes, unfortunately, Twitter tries to be “helpful” and reduce the number of email notifications you receive. There isn’t much you can do. I built a WordPress plugin called Twools which you can use with a IFTTT to send mention notifications. It’s a bit complicated to set up, but it’s the only alternative I know.