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Twitter to launch URL shortener and may block TinyURL and bit.ly

Twitter has confirmed that it is to launch its own link-shortener, which could push out popular services such as bit.ly and tinyurl.

Once introduced, Twitter may not give users of the microblogging service a choice of other shorteners, according to Techcrunch.

"We are probably not going to give people a choice. If they want to use a different shortener, they can use a different app," Twitter chief executive Evan Williams told the Chirp developer conference in San Francisco.

He did not give any details about what security measures would be included.

IT security researchers have repeatedly highlighted the potential threat of link shorteners ever since they become popular for use on the 140-word limit microblogging site.

With bit.ly, Tiny URL and other similar services enabling users to compress web addresses in such a way that hides the true destination, some researchers have warned of a spike in malicious links.

But a study of more than one million URLs by Zscaler, carried out before Twitter introduced a security system to scan all links used in tweets, showed that only 0.06% of them represented a security risk.

Researcher Julien Sobrier retrieved 1,314,615 URLs from Twitter's public timeline before protection was put in place and found only 773 led to malicious content, not including spam.


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