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Twitter to “wrap” links

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday June 11, 2010 )

Twitter is working towards addressing security threats posed by some shortened links – and collecting a bunch of data in the process.

URL shortening services have been around for many years, but it’s been the advent of Twitter that has seen their popularity take off. The problem with links shortened by a third party service is they obscure the target site – which may be about sunshine and kittens, or loaded with malware waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting Joe Surfer. Twitter is now seeking to address this issue.

According to a post on Twitter Development Talk, the company is working on a feature where all links, including shortened ones, will be “wrapped” in a link. The link shortening service is run by Twitter.

When someone clicks on the wrapped link, Twitter will redirect them to the original URL after first checking that the target page isn’t malicious. If it appears to be a bit iffy, it’s my understanding this alert is what the user will see.

Where it gets interesting/puzzling is if you post a link shortened by for example, the tweet will still show a link – why; I really don’t know. Seems to me if they are going to go down this path, then just convert the link to a one, display that and be done with it. I *think* they are heading down this path to continue to allow for URL recognition when a non-shortened link is used.

Twitter says that when the changes roll out, any tracking metrics (like those from will continue working as before.

The feature will also be used to track the number of clicks and will eventually become what Twitter says an important quality signal for it’s Resonance algorithm.

I think this is a much needed feature for the most part – shortened links are incredibly useful but a little risky and perhaps with this in place, the more security conscious will also start clicking more often.

You can read more about the development of wrapped links here.


Using Twitter as a marketing tool


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