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Twitter prepares to launch own link shortener to boost security

Twitter has announced it is another step closer to launching its own web link shortener to boost security, which could push out popular services such as bit.ly and tinyurl.

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

With bit.ly, tinyurl 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.

The Twitter link-shortening service, first announced in April, is currently being tested and will be rolled out to all users in the next few months, according to a blog post by Sean Garrett, vice-president of communications at Twitter.

"We want to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened links and lets you know where a link will take you," he wrote.

Once rolled out, the service will automatically shorten and scan links posted to Twitter or third-party applications.

The service will also enable Twitter to track all links shared through the site to contribute to the metrics behind Twitter's Promoted Tweets platform, said Garrett.

The data will also help Twitter improve its ability to determine if a Tweet is relevant and interesting to users, he said.

The data may even help Twitter to provide additional services and revenue streams. "An example would be analytics within our eventual commercial accounts service," said Garrett.


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