Twitter has officially dropped its 140-character limit on direct messages. The microblogging site is rolling the change out in phases across Android, iOS and web-based platforms over the next few weeks.

Twitter originally announced back in June that it would be removing its 140-character limitation on DMs. At the time, the company said the change would come into effect in July, but it seems this time frame may have been a bit optimistic.

Users can now send direct messages of up to 10,000 characters, bringing the feature more in line with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the latter boasting a character limit of 20,000. "Our users will now have the flexibility to write longer and express themselves in a more natural and comfortable way," said Twitter's product manager for direct messages, Sachin Agarwal, in a blog post.

Twitter has emphasized that the move does not indicate any future changes to the site's distinctive 140-character tweet limit. Limits also remain for sending and receiving Direct Messages via SMS. "You may be wondering what this means for the public side of Twitter. In a word, nothing. Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today," Agarwal added.

The increase in the DM character limit appears to be another effort on Twitter's part to increase the site's appeal and attract new users. The number of new sign-ups to the platform has stagnated in recent times, causing its shares to plunge. The site is likely hoping that this change, along with upcoming features such as the news tab and Project Lightning, will go some way in increasing its popularity.

Despite Twitter's 316 million monthly users, the site still lags way behind its closest social media rival, Facebook, which has a user base of 1.5 billion people.