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Pinterest caps captions at 500 characters

The change, per one popular petition, will prevent users from posting entire tutorials or recipes.


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 20, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 9:11 pm CDT

When you add content to Pinterest, the interface requires you provide a caption with your image. But when it comes to what to say, how much is too much?

This week Pinterest answered the question by instituting a 500-character limit on pins.

Pinterest underwent this change quietly over the weekend. However, Pinterest expert Josh Davis knew about the limit in advance after cofounder Ben Silbermann reached out to him about a separate issue.

“Ben Silbermann told me that recipes were particularly problematic and that posting full recipes didn’t reflect the intent of Pinterest which is to have users go to the original source of the image,” Davis wrote.

The change was apparently inspired by users’ requests, Davis told the Daily Dot in a comment.

“I don’t know if the character limit related to that specific petition (I know there were several), but the change was definitively driven by user feedback,” he wrote.

The users who organized one petition said a character limit would keep users from posting entire tutorials or recipes, along with images from their sites, thereby removing any incentive for people to click through to the original content. The petition had 696 signatures.

“Impose a simple character limit on the pin text,” the petition requested. “Prevent users from being able to infringe on our hard work with a simple copy and paste.”

About three-and a-half tweets long, the 500-character limit leaves enough space for a paragraph but not much more. That means text-driven Pinterest projects, such as PBS Newshour’s Why I Go To School will be permitted, but entire transcripts of song lyrics will not.

The limit will have an added perk that Pinterest may not even be aware of—if users have only 500 characters, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to engage in long-winded flame wars ever again.

Photo by Leo Reynolds

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*First Published: Feb 20, 2012, 3:02 pm CST