For awhile now Twitter has been hinting they were going to start censoring outgoing links on their popular social networking platform and the first step they took in that was the use of converting (or shortening as they said) all links to a t.co variation then redirecting it to the intended location. They even says, as plain as day, “Twitter uses the t.co domain as part of a service to protect users from harmful activity, to provide value for the developer ecosystem, and as a quality signal for surfacing relevant, interesting Tweets.”
Only now they really are doing it, it’s not longer just a claim of something that might or might not happen sometime in the future and it’s not just to spam sites either.
While they say it’s for the sole purpose of protecting their users from harmful sites. We have to wonder just how true that is.
“Having a link shortener protects users from malicious sites that engage in spreading malware, phishing attacks, and other harmful activity. A link converted by Twitter’s link service is checked against a list of potentially dangerous sites. Users are warned with the error message below when clicking on potentially harmful URLs. “
They can cut off direct linking to any site they want – including competitor sites or sites they don’t feel plays ball with their policies, say for instance they don’t like bit.ly and therefore the thousands of people who use that URL shortening service, suddenly find their links don’t work on twitter anymore so they cease using the bit.ly service and now they go out of business.
Of course that also means they can block access to adult sites if they so desire and considering some of the owners of Twitter, that isn’t out of the question.
So for now you just need to keep an eye on anything you tweet out and see if it gets blocked. If it does you’ll have to file a report at t.co and ask for reconsideration.