Besides hinting at new features and talking about user stats, Twitter also made a couple announcements this week. One is that all Twitter apps use OAuth. The other is that it will start tracking every t.co link users click. This is Twitter’s own default URL-shortener.
Twitter sent an email to users saying, "In the coming weeks, we will be expanding the roll-out of our link wrapping service t.co, which wraps links in Tweets with a new, simplified link… When this happens, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL."
"When you click on these links from Twitter.com or a Twitter application, Twitter will log that click. We hope to use this data to provide better and more relevant content to you over time."
This may be a good thing for users from a security standpoint. Symantec says that short URL spam and phishing attacks are rising sharply. "With the announcement that Twitter will be rolling-out its own short URL service, many malicious attacks through this route will be thwarted," says Amanda Grady, Senior Analyst at Symantec. "Through Twitter’s added analysis, they will be able to check if the short URL is directing users towards a site with malware and alert them in advance. This should reduce phishing attacks on Twitter accounts and prevent criminals from directing users to infected websites.
What about other URL-shortening services? Well, Bit.ly Twitter’s old favorite, has posted an update on the matter. "Following this week’s OAuth and apps announcements, some of our users have inquired about how bit.ly will work with Twitter’s new link-wrapping service," says Bit.ly’s Matt LeMay. "Link-wrapping will enable Twitter to collect traffic data and block spam, but it will not interfere with bit.ly analytics, bit.ly Pro custom domains, or bit.ly Enterprise usage — you will be able to shorten, share and track links with bit.ly exactly as you do now."
"Many of our partners are already using their bit.ly Pro short links with t.co, since all links shared via the Twitter Tweet Button have been wrapped in t.co since the button launched last month," he adds. "Link-wrapping will happen automatically and invisibly in the background."
Bit.ly says its been working closely with Twitter and other social media platforms to continue improvements across the web.