Outage Reveals Another Annoying Side To Twitter’s Link Shortener

Did you notice that your t.co links weren’t working Monday night?

Well, they weren’t. For anybody.

Yet another reason to be annoyed with Twitter’s “t.co.”

Last year, Twitter started shortening links using its “t.co” link shortener and not giving users a way to opt out. Why?

[T]hey want to own link analytics. . . . By wrapping everything in t.co, Twitter will be able to easily monitor link engagement (such as retweets and click), and will likely begin selling this link analytics data to big companies running Twitter campaigns. It’s a long-term monetization strategy.

But we wonder if they realized at the time that they were “introducing a central point of failure where none existed before,” as CNET is calling it. [Italics ours.]

And, “that failure happened last night around 11:30 p.m. PT when t.co went offline, meaning millions of Twitter users received ‘non-existent domain’ errors when trying to follow links.”

How did it happen? Human error. Someone placed a hold on the account while investigating a “phishing complaint.” Whoops!

But it draws attention to a much larger potential problem. How many of your links are “t.co” dependent? Potentially quite a few if you’re moderately active on Twitter.

(Woman angry with computer image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong maryclong@digitalmediaghost.com Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.