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Be wary of Twitter links

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Thursday July 9, 2009 )

I used to be extremely hesitant to click links generated by URL shortening services, but with the advent of Twitter, I dropped the paranoia level a bit. Probably not a good idea.

URL shortening services are certainly very handy, but the links they generate give you no indication of where they lead; so you’re always taking a bit of a risk clicking on them.

Now that spammers and various other forms of online lowlife are increasing their presence on Twitter, it pays to be a little extra cautious before clicking with abandon as shortened URLs leading to malware-infected sites are becoming more prevalent.

When making a decision as to whether a link is safe to click, take a good look at the Twitter page to try and gauge the trustworthiness of the author. Don’t just judge by follower count as this can be very misleading. I’ve seen pages with a single tweet with a follower list of over a thousand. If there’s little in the way of activity on the profile, it’s probably best not to take the risk.

There are a couple of tools around to help lessen the risk. For example, Firefox users can install the Preview beta plugin for Firefox. Once activated, when you hover over a link, a tooltip is generate showing the Page Title, full URL and other info. It would be great to see a plugin created that covered most of the major URL shortening services.

You can download the Preview beta plugin for Firefox here.


Twitter as a marketing tool for online business


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