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11
April
2009

Tiny URL and Twitter

This post is in continuation to my previous post on Twitter and Spans.I want to bring up one more thing that is a potential threat for everybody.Ever since Twitter made headlines, one business model whose fortune changed is of the guys who do URL shortening.Personally I use Tiny URL for all my tweets.I remember using this tinyurl long back once or twice. But then, it was never a necessity for me. But now, with Twitter, its very difficult to live without these services. Imagine the kind of traffic these URL shortening websites are seeing today!!

The reason why we all need and are forced to use these tinyurls is because of the character limits in tweeting. But have we ever thought what this could  potentially lead to? I am sure lot of guys would have thought about it. But still we all continue to use it as it would be very difficult to tweet with those long url formats.Today when we see a URL in a tweet,we blindly click it to see what it has. But that click could be a potential virus as we all have no idea of the source of that link. Who knows, it could be a link from Al Quaida or from some terrorist organization in Pakistan :)

Can we do something about  it? At this point of time, we are limited by the resources twitter provides. I think this is a issue that twitter should address. I have the following suggestion that twitter can look at to reduce the threats of these tiny urls.

1) Have a URL shortening service at the twitter page itself. That service should also validate the link to ensure that its not a malware or a virus or something like that.

2)Provide a separate box for all URLs next to the place you tweet and do not include the lenght of the url to the tweet length. By this many would avoid using the URL shortening service and post the real URL in those boxes. Also validation should be made to check that whatever pasted into the URL box is a real URL. Else people may use that also as a text box to extend their tweet.

3)Twitter tie up with some external URL shortening service and then accept the shortened URLs only from those sources.

This is just my 2 cents to make Twitter a better place!

Author: pradeep