Twitter Changing Link Use for Security and Functionality Purposes
In a blog post today, Twitter announced that all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL. This is a move to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened link and lets the user know where a link will take them.
Twitter says this will not only provide users with a better experience, but more importantly, help with phishing scams and security concerns.
However, dig a little deeper into the post and you'll find this nugget:
In addition to a better user experience and increased safety, routing links through this service will eventually contribute to the metrics behind our Promoted Tweets platform and provide an important quality signal for our Resonance algorithm—the way we determine if a Tweet is relevant and interesting to users. We are also looking to provide services that make use of this data, an example would be analytics within our eventual commercial accounts service.
What does this really mean?
Well, it might not mean anything to the run of the mill Twitter user, but to advertisers and marketers, it means a lot.
It means that Twitter will be combing through our links to pull out relevant data that, in turn, will be available to advertisers. Yes, Twitter talks about analytics functionality, but at the end of the day, this is yet another ploy for a social media site to rake through your content and sell it to the highest bidder (hello Facebook).
On one hand, this is great news for users in terms of security, but as it relates to privacy and "sharing" information, it's just more of the same from one of the interweb's powerhouses.
Lastly, and on a more positive note, Twitter will tweak the way URLs are handled, whereas links will count to up to 20 characters of the 140 limit (and no more than 20, which gives users a little character space flexibility.)
Only a few accounts have t.co capabilities, according to the post, including Twitter’s @rsarver and @raffi. The number will grow throughout the summer as the company tests the link wrapping service.