How to trade Twitter shares hundreds of millions in 140 characters

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Twitter plans to increase tweet character limit from 140 to 10,000: report

TWITTER’S shares have plummeted following reports of a surprising change intended to save the micro-messaging site.

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Tweets too short? . Twitter is reportedly mulling a 10,000 character limit. Picture: AFP/Emmanuel Dunand Source:AFP

TWITTER’S 140 character limit on tweets has long frustrated and challenged its most verbose users.

Now the company could offer a solution, according to tech news website re/code: the 10,000 character tweet, which could be available as soon as March.

Re/code reported overnight that Twitter has been studying how to allow users to say more, after restricting them to 140 characters for 10 years.

That limit was based on the capacity of the original messaging software used, and though frustrating for many, unleashed a tidal wave of ultra-concise commentary across the web.

Now every day more than 300 million regular Twitter users send hundreds of millions of messages — news reports, personal updates, advertisements, political pitches, photos and videos and, most often, just witty and innocuous comments.

US programmer . Jack Dorsey is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter. Picture: European Press Photo Agency Source:Supplied

Re/code says the company already allows 10,000 characters in a commercial product called Direct Messages, so the technology is no longer a barrier.

The company is testing a version that would still only display 140 characters in a message, but carry much more, and a reader would have to click on the tweet to see the rest.

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The move is a part of Twitter’s efforts to expand its user base and advertising sales and other sources of income.

Twitter continued to lose money over the first three quarters of last year. In October it reported a third-quarter loss of $US132 million, on a disappointing 11 per cent year-on-year increase in regular users to 320 million.

Tail-spin . Twitter shares plummeted by more than two per cent after reports the company was considering increasing its tweet character count from 140 to 10,000. Picture: Google Source:Supplied

Twitter itself had no comment on the report, but users were not entirely enthusiastic about the possible new limit.

“140 characters is not NEARLY enough to express my outrage that Twitter is raising the character limit to 10,000,” tweeted writer Brian Phillips in 111 characters.

“Twitter really going hard after those stubborn 300 million people who don’t hate it yet,” quipped Rusty Foster in just 87 characters.

Investors also did not take to the idea: Twitter shares were down 2.5 per cent to $US21.99 after the report.

This is the gettysburg address. It is about 1500 characters. Twitter wants 10,000. pic.twitter.com/MEU9cPzWTw

I can’t stand what half the people on Twitter say in 140 characters. please don’t do this.

Twitter is going to allow up to 10,000 characters per tweet? Why the unnecessary change no one wanted? Twitter purchased by George Lucas?

140 characters is not NEARLY enough to express my outrage that Twitter is raising the character limit to 10,000.

Twitter finally relaxes 140 character limit, but with a catch

Twitter is finally, at long last, relaxing its 140 character limit with a move it should have made years ago. The company today announced that most things that aren’t plain old text or emojis will no longer count toward your character limit.

Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/I9pUC0NdZC

We call it disco-tech

TNW2020 is our full-blown tech festival disguised as a conference

You still only get 140 characters towards text messages and links, but adding quotes, polls, videos, or images will no longer reduce precious characters.

Frankly, it’s a move Twitter should have made eons ago. Of course, Twitter likely worried about the implications of expending its character limit; the brevity of tweets has largely defined the social network’s character. This seems like a fair compromise.

The company did consider increasing the limit to 10,000 characters once upon a time, according to Recode, but the idea was scrapped. In the meantime, the Verge reports the company is testing other ways to give you more breathing room:

The company is also testing out new replies that will omit the username of the person you are replying to from the character limit. If you reply to multiple people at once, Twitter only omits the person who sent the original tweet from the character count.

The expanded tweets are ‘rolling out now’ so you may not be able to use them quite yet, but expect to be able to send longer tweets anytime now.

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How Twitter Hopes To Reduce Its Tax Bill (In 140 Characters Or Less)

File photo dated September 11, 2020 shows the logo of the social networking website ‘Twitter’ . [+] displayed on a computer screen in London. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

Twitter can sum up its new tax reduction strategy in 140 characters or less: Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich.

(Yes, that leaves 110 characters to spare).

The internet is aflutter with the news that Twitter is jumping on the Irish corporate tax bandwagon a la Apple .

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The online social networking site – which more or less introduced the world to the idea of “microblogging” – has filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The company will go public on the NYSE in November. It is slated to be the biggest social media IPO since Facebook – and er, we remember how that went (which might also explain why Twitter opted for NYSE over NASDAQ).

The IPO is expected to make millionaires out of its shareholders, despite the fact that Twitter isn’t actually pulling in revenue in 2020. It has, in fact, never made an actual profit. But like Facebook, Twitter is huge: as of September 2020, the company could boast 200 million users sending over 400 million tweets daily.

Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass and is headquartered in San Francisco. San Francisco may have lovely weather, amazing restaurants and a hipster vibe – but that’s not enough to sustain a company. San Francisco has two things working against it as a corporate headquarters: the U.S. corporate tax system and the California tax system. In fact, California was recently cited as nearly the worst state in the country in which to do business: only New York and New Jersey are worse, according to the Tax Foundation’s 2020 edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index.

Companies that focus on making things – like cars and furniture – can find it difficult to pull up roots and move for tax reasons. But Twitter, like tech-oriented Microsoft and Apple before it, plans to capitalize on the fact that most of its value is centered on intellectual property. It’s much more difficult to pinpoint a home for intellectual property, making it a great asset to situs in a tax favored countries while shuttering profits between one or more countries.

Here’s how the most talked about of these kind of arrangements (popularized by Apple) tax works.

Or, in other words, here’s how to build a “Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich”:

  • The U.S. requires all domestic corporations (except those exempt under section 501) to file an income tax return whether or not they have taxable income.Tax rates can be as high as 35% – one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world – depending on the level of income:
  • But if money is paid to a subsidiary in a lower tax country, a corporation can have that income taxed at a much lower rate. Since intellectual property rights – like royalties – are easy to locate practically anywhere in the world, this requires something as simple as.
  • Setting up shop in Ireland. The Irish corporate tax rate is 12.5% – far lower than the U.S. corporate income tax rate.
  • And it gets better. If an Irish subsidiary is controlled by managers outside of the company, like one in a tax-haven, certain profits can escape tax altogether – at least while it remains out of arm’s length of taxing authorities. Ireland’s tax laws make this easy (it’s not so easy in the U.S.) – and Irish disclosure laws make those assets tricky to track down. The result is that multinational companies are “parking” hundreds of millions of dollars abroad. Technically, that money will be taxed when (and if) it is repatriated back to the U.S. In reality, most of it will likely never end up back in the U.S.
  • Setting up a second shop in Ireland allows profits from sales outside of the U.S. – meaning those sales made in other countries – to never enter the stream of U.S. taxation altogether even though, in theory, we have a global tax system.
  • Since, like the U.S., Ireland has a number of tax treaties with other countries, certain income – mostly royalties – are exempt from tax when transferred from Ireland to other EU countries. Income is routed through these countries – generally, the Netherlands, due to its favorable laws, where it is eventually transferred to – you guessed it – a tax haven. Depending on the nature of the assets and profits, funds might be routed back through the second Irish subsidiary, packing the Dutch transfer neatly between the Irish companies.
  • The result? Lower taxes in some instances. Tax deferral in others. In other words, for the company making the sandwich, it is delicious.

And despite the fact that Ireland has been making a noise about making transfers in and out of the Emerald Isle more difficult, that hasn’t happened yet – making it still a great time for Twitter to act. And it’s clear that they are working on it. Twitter has Irish offices located at 42 Pearse St. in Dublin and registered to “Twitter International Company.” A number of other Twitter subsidiaries have already popped up – T.I. Sparrow I, T.I. Sparrow II, and Twitter Netherlands B.V. You can check out the paperwork over at Gawker’s Valleywag (seriously, it’s worth a peek). Throw in a pint of Guinness and you have a regular Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich lunch.

Of course, Twitter isn’t commenting about plans for its taxes or the use of the potential Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich tax structure – and why would they? Apple and Google have already been at the end of a firestorm of criticisms over their tax planning – which is, for now, perfectly legal (even the SEC says so). And unlike Apple, they haven’t actually been accused of doing anything wrong – it’s hard to dodge taxes when you’re not making any money. But the questions and the criticisms might be very different if Twitter is able to make the $1 billion it hopes at its IPO next month (spoiler alert: it totally will).

Except. Well. It’s social media… People like Twitter. Users feel engaged with the company in a way that I’m not sure they been able to with other mega-companies – even with Facebook – because, let’s face it, Zuckerberg would never let you friend him but you can always follow Biz Stone (@biz) and Evan Williams (@ev). It will be interesting to watch how the roles of accessibility, likeability and connectivity might affect we feel about Twitter’s tax burden. Remember, much of the ire directed at Apple and Google is for a policy that’s completely legal – and Bono famously boiled down the argument of those who didn’t support U2’s tax moves to the Netherlands to likeability.

Will we care about a perceived Twitter “tax dodge” the same way? I don’t think so. And you can tweet me on that.

Want more taxgirl goodness? Pick your poison: You can receive posts by email, follow me on twitter (@taxgirl) hang out with me on Facebook and check out my YouTube channel. You can also subscribe to the podcast on the site or via iTunes (it’s free).

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