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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Richard Drew / AP

It's finally happening: Twitter is testing extending tweets beyond 140 characters — to 280 characters, to be exact. On Tuesday, the company said it's experimenting with allowing all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to have twice as many characters as its signature length. Of course, this is still a small test, so it may not be a permanent change.

Why it's doing this: Twitter says that a lot of users are frustrated with the tweet length limit, which seems to make it harder to express themselves (except in Chinese, Japanese and Korean). Rumors of this change have been around for some time. Last year, for example, the company was said to be considering letting users tweet up to a staggering 10,000 characters. Twitter found that 9% of English tweets have 140 characters (most have around 34 characters), compared to only 0.4% of Japanese tweets that have 140 characters.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: Twitter's blog post on the change.

Go deeper

The robotaxi era will require a rethinking of vehicle safety

Zoox's robotaxi is bidirectional and includes more than 100 safety innovations. Photo: Zoox

Vehicles are being reimagined as autonomous, electric, toaster-shaped robotaxis. Now their safety has to be reworked too.

The big picture: There's more to self-driving cars than just removing the steering wheel and pedals. The entire vehicle needs to be redesigned for riders, not drivers, so their safety can be assured even when they're not in control.

Apple puts antitrust bills in privacy spotlight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple warned Wednesday that new antitrust legislation would place iPhone customers' privacy and security at risk by limiting the company's control over what apps users can install.

Driving the news: Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to argue that the antitrust bills would hurt innovation and consumers, per a New York Times report.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The small business boom

Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau via John C. Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the most unexpected pandemic winners might just turn out to be new small businesses.

Why it matters: The number of entrepreneurs starting a business easily hit a record high in 2020, according to a new analysis by University of Maryland economist John Haltiwanger. That's a surprising result, given the severity of the crisis.