Changes to the way Twitter deals with web links for security reasons means users will have fewer characters to use in tweets.
Previously, including a web link cut the number of characters from 140 to 120, but now that cuts the number down to 118 for ordinary links and 117 if the website uses the more secure “https” protocol.
From now on, Twitter will automatically “wrap” web links into a link beginning t.co using its own link shortener, even if another URL-shortening service such as bit.ly is used.
Twitter introduced its link shortener to protect users from malicious sites that spread malware, phishing attacks and other harmful activities.
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A link converted by Twitter’s link service is checked against a list of potentially dangerous sites. Users are warned with an error message when clicking on potentially harmful URLs.
The process also allows Twitter to track the most popular links being shared. This is part of Twitter's plans to grow its advertising business.