Del Harvey, Director of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, announced on Twitter’s blog that the micro-blogging service has begun using its own shortening service to stop malicious operators from sending tweets with links to their dodgy sites disguised through shortening.
He wrote: “By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links across all of Twitter. Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we’ll be able keep that user safe.”
Twitter “Trust and Safety” blog piece here.
The problem with shortened links has been that the tweet-ee can’t really see from the shortened URL what exactly he is clicking on. The LongURL site http://longurl.org/ provides a service to expand shortened URLs so tweet-ees can see if their tweet-er has sent a link to http://www.mAlIcIoUs.PhIsHiNg.DoWnLoAd.Site.com and not the Pottery Barn.
The site bit.ly, which Twitter had been using, was one of the most popular shortening sites last year. The creators thought the name would be cool, which is why they registered the domain in Libya in order to get the “.ly” country domain. It has been pointed out that there is a risk in that (in addition to a huge negative public relations exposure) since Libya has Internet law in place that prohibits traffic related to sex, gambling, the lottery industry or anything insulting to Islam. If Libya suddenly decided to filter traffic, that could be a huge headache.