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Twitter API ToS To Force Routing Clicks To Twitter

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the too-big-for-their-britches dept.

Communications 92

An anonymous reader writes "Twitter has announced that it will change the way it handles URLs in tweets. This has been widely reported, including the likely consequences for bit.ly. What has not received much attention, and was not in the official blog announcement (but in the Google Twitter developers mailing list instead) is that the Terms of Service for all applications that use the Twitter API will be changed to require that any click on a URL in a tweet be routed through a Twitter gateway, allowing Twitter to see exactly which links are followed and by whom."

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92 comments

hmmm (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522348)

I can understand why they want to do this for tracking purposes, but won't this break a lot of older Twitter apps?

Re:hmmm (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522638)

And soon it will end up making Twitter losing it's popularity.

It seems to me that as soon as commercial interests takes over a certain web service it's obsolete and will soon be replaced by something else.

Re:hmmm (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523098)

It seems to me that as soon as commercial interests takes over a certain web service it's obsolete and will soon be replaced by something else.

No, that's usually the point at which so many people are using the damned thing that trying to replace it now would be futile.

Take Facebook, no matter what kind of crap they do now, people still keep using it. You really think that most of the Twits who Tweet will know or care about this?

Only a TWIT would use Twitter (2, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523304)

Am I the only one who thinks that Twitter is created by and for morons? It's picture perfect. I can imagine a 60s novel predicting such an avenue for useless information, but the author would have not chosen to name it anything like "Twitter" because his readers wouldn't have taken him seriously.

But hey, who's to bother making such a point amongst the masses? No one even pays attention to accomplishments, elegance, or talent. So many beautiful songs are written every day, and we end up with things like Pokerface, completely void of style or melodic depth, becoming the most popular? How sad. Twits.

--TrisexualPuppy

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523472)

This should be seen.

Web 2.0 is the retardation of computing. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523778)

It's not just twitter, mind you. The whole Web 2.0 movement is built around a dumbing-down of computing, both for the users and the implementers.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, and the other major properties are nothing but a collection of useless data. Even the advertising and datamining uses are of limited or dubious value.

It's hilarious that twitter, for instance, is crumbling under a load that the airline and financial industries could handle back in the 1970s. Instead of using better products, Web 2.0 companies have turned towards dumbing down how they build their infrastructure. That's why we're seeing so much bloody hype about NoSQL.

Re:Web 2.0 is the retardation of computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32531528)

The whole Web 2.0 movement is built around a dumbing-down of computing, both for the users and the implementers.

I hate to break the news to you, but what you call the "dumbing-down of computing" started a *long* time before Web 2.0, but I don't think that that is a bad thing.

Some people my age would say that it started with the advent of easy access to the Internet. Before that, it was the province of "true nerds" (and, let's face it - who else cared then, really?)... and while it was growing, the BBS scene was also growing, on a parallel path, with its own nerds, some unique to it, others part of both, until they merged, perhaps inevitably, and "everything" started to become connected.

Were I more cynical, I'd say that the worst thing that ever happened to the Internet was people, the average (and less than average) people that swarmed onto it because it became ever-increasingly easier to do so.

But, I'm only moderately cynical now, though I've had a rough patch here and there over the years, and think that, overall, general Internet access is a good thing. ANYTHING that has the potential to connect us, permit us to communicate, is a good thing, despite the side-effects, misunderstandings and occasional abuse. And, I think that anything that fosters that, makes it easier to use, more available, is also a good thing.

I've always viewed computers as tools, even back when they could only be used by the relatively few that cared, back in the "Dark Ages of Computing", to take the time to learn how to use them, pushed their limits, and established the foundation of what exists now (In a word: Nerds). Now, they're tools that are not only more available and less expensive, they're also easier to use. To me, that makes them *better* tools, overall.

The fact that they can be, and often are, misused doesn't detract from that: It's not the fault of the tool, but rather the fault of those misuse it.

Slashdot spans generations now - some remember it when it was new, others are only recently arrived - and in between are over a million others, all connected, and not just here, but elsewhere, all over the Internet, and so, all over the world.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg and others serve the same function, for people now, too... different, certainly, valuable to some, not so much to others. Pretty much now the same way it is in the "real world". Only now, the Internet, and all that it contains, is no longer separate from the real world, it's part of it, increasingly inseperable from it.

And so my question to all of you here, and elsewhere, is this: What are you going to DO with it?

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523868)

Am I the only one who thinks that Twitter is created by and for morons?

Well, that might be a bit harsh. ;-) I don't use it, but for some people, I'm sure it's a really cool thing.

but the author would have not chosen to name it anything like "Twitter" because his readers wouldn't have taken him seriously

Well, I think the word "twitter" in the English language is well matched by the intent of the service. It could be both the sound of the message arriving, and the excitement/buzz conveyed by being "all a twitter" -- for once, the word actually is fairly close to the English usage.

Given everyone's fascination with social media, it seems to be a fairly logical thing. You can message all of your friends every time you take a dump. :-P

But hey, who's to bother making such a point amongst the masses? No one even pays attention to accomplishments, elegance, or talent. So many beautiful songs are written every day, and we end up with things like Pokerface, completely void of style or melodic depth, becoming the most popular? How sad. Twits.

And then you go all foamy at the mouth and ruin it all. ;-)

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523888)

You're complaining about a lack of elegance and talent in modern music and yet you used that pun in your title?

Twitter is a communications medium that requires brevity and succinctness. It's a chance for friends to keep in touch about moderate to low-importance notifications in a way that is appropriate for their value. "I'm heading to Ikea later today. Anyone want to come?" "Need a replacement for an Ibanez Tubescreamer." Etcetera. It's a bit like the chatter that would happen when people chatter in person, but with a forced character limit. Someone saying "I've had a bad day" isn't interesting in and of itself, but it is interesting if it is from someone you happen to care about.

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (0, Troll)

ElKry (1544795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32527024)

"I'm heading to Ikea later today. Anyone want to come?"

How very naive of you. It would be "Headn 2 ikea l8r, n1 come?". When mentioning brevity and succinctness, keep in mind what sms and IM did to the English (and any other) language.

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (1)

horatio (127595) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524654)

the author would have not chosen to name it anything like "Twitter" because his readers wouldn't have taken him seriously.

"TrisexualPuppy"? @Kettle tweeted that you screamed you're black! at him and now won't reply to his DMs.

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32526496)

Am I the only one who thinks that Twitter is created by and for morons?

No. There are plenty of "get off my lawn!" types to go around. I'm not going to write the next Great American Novel on Twitter, but neither can I text my Underwood typewriter and have it relay the message to my friends.

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#32532948)

but neither can I text my Underwood typewriter and have it relay the message to my friends.

I think he meant people who want to text their friends en masse are morons in general.

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32527914)

Am I the only one who thinks that Twitter is created by and for morons? It's picture perfect. I can imagine a 60s novel predicting such an avenue for useless information, but the author would have not chosen to name it anything like "Twitter" because his readers wouldn't have taken him seriously.

It's only useless if you choose to make it useless. If you follow people with useless tweets and your own tweets are useless, it will be useless. But you can choose to follow people who have something interesting to say, and say interesting things yourself. You are really looking yourself in the mirror here. It says more about you than about people who use Twitter.

Would the author have named something Google, Apple or Microsoft?

Re:Only a TWIT would use Twitter (1)

mobets (101759) | more than 3 years ago | (#32531986)

I think twitter or something like it would be a good way to receive infrequent announcements. I use RSS (via google reader) for news, but if I subscribed to a feed that was only updated every other month, it would get buried under the 100s of articles a week from other sources. E-mail would work, but would place a larger burden on the source of the update. Maybe the RSS readers need a better way to organize and prioritize sources.

Re:hmmm (1)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522966)

Nevermind what the extra load will do to their already-fragile servers. The stupid whale is the only thing I've seen for two days now.

Re:hmmm (1)

horatio (127595) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524682)

yep. this is the first thing I thought of. I understand why they want to do it (would be nice if the protocol were extended to allow attaching a URL, even if it had to go through them), but they're already running into capacity issues, what seems like fairly often.

Even more tracking? (3, Insightful)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522370)

So I can't distribute kiddy pron any more via twitter?

On a more serious note, I don't see how this won't be abused by governments to track and shut down people who oppose them (like human rights activists that coordinate using twitter).

Re:Even more tracking? (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522566)

I don't see how this won't be abused by governments to track and shut down people who oppose them (like human rights activists that coordinate using twitter).

Like these guys [twitter.com]

Re:Even more tracking? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522580)

Or for color revolution tracking. If a set issue gets x clicks from the target country, "routed through a Twitter gateway" would be nice realtime feedback.
Great for the nexthttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/nov/26/ukraine.usa

Re:Even more tracking? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523264)

So you would prefer to keep using bit.ly, which is Libya. I'm sure we can trust that government. Good thinking!

Re:Even more tracking? (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#32532966)

So you would prefer to keep using bit.ly, which is Libya. I'm sure we can trust that government. Good thinking!

bit.ly is actually based in New York, NY. So I guess you're right... :)

Re:Even more tracking? (1)

lonecrow (931585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32531566)

Ok So take take link AAAAAAA shorten it with bit.ly, then hand it to the twitter shortener.

So user clicks twitter link that routes through twitter gateway to bit.ly. Problem solved.

Although I guess they could spend some cycles expanding the bit.ly link but them cycles cost I assume.

Ok so someone sets up an onion url shortening service. submit your URL and via API they run it through 5 consecutive shorten services and then hand it back. Call it linkTor(tm)

Meh (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522372)

I used to hate on twitter pretty hard-core until I realized that it was basically a party-line SMS service and was actually kind of neat. I've used the API via Perl, Ruby and PHP just to mess around, but nothing particularly serious. I actually haven't even bothered to tweet in a couple of weeks.

None of that is particularly relevant, I suppose. I don't think I'll be progressing any further in twitter scripting, not really because of this, but its just sort of lost its appeal. Frankly, I shouldn't really be surprised at this move, though it is kind of annoying from a user perspective, knowing this is how they want to play the game. Of course, their game is kind of like the Baseketball of social networking, and if I just never logged in again, my life wouldn't be any different. Maybe I'll delete my new account I created after I had a change of heart following the last time I deleted a twitter account. I'm pretty sure that I could hold steady in my resolve this time.

All your tweets (2, Funny)

X10 (186866) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522392)

All your tweets are belong to us.

Re:All your tweets (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522678)

We are the Twits. Resistance is futile. You will be twitted.

Re:All your tweets (1)

Binkleyz (175773) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522754)

I am the master of the twit.

Remember this fucking face. Whenever you see twit, you'll see this fucking face. I make that shit work.

It does whatever the fuck I tell it to. No one rules the twit like me. Not this little fuck.

None of you little fucks out there. I AM THE twit COMMANDER! Remember that, commander of all twits! When it comes down to business, this is what I do

Re:All your tweets (5, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524638)

I don't use twitter.
I don't want to catch chirpies.
It's a canarial disease.
It's untweetable.

-

Stacker Tracker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32522402)

So in other words everyone's starting to adopt the Google model?

---
Heh, my captcha is "unaware".

Re:Stacker Tracker. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522900)

So in other words everyone's starting to adopt the Google model?

Why, is she hot?

Re:Stacker Tracker. (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523920)

So in other words everyone's starting to adopt the Google model?

Why, is she hot?

Many don't seem to care, since the Google model puts out for free.

False security is worse than none (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32522444)

So Twitless will check links for malware. Joe User likes this.

Until the malware creator sniffs the user agent and IP, and returns safe content to Twitter, and only delivers malware to valid targets.

Re:False security is worse than none (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522506)

I get the impression it's not an automated process, or at least, not a solely automated process. There's no malware in the traditional sense at goatse.cx, but if it's reported as a malicious link it will probably get blocked anyway.

Some good can come from this (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522446)

If deployed properly this could actually enhance security a bit. Pass the links through twitter servers which checks to make sure they not on a black list and then pass the traffic through.

Re:Some good can come from this (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522462)

Ah, blacklists, the age old method of making sure people don't visit sites that you think are bad for them.

Re:Some good can come from this (5, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522510)

Better than whitelists, where people decide what's good for you.

Re:Some good can come from this (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522610)

Yes, and a punch in the face is arguably better than a kick in the balls :)

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522776)

For those of us with balls, there is no "arguably". I would take a punch to the face over a kick in the balls EVERY TIME.

Re:Some good can come from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523572)

For those of us with balls, there is no "arguably". I would take a punch to the face over a kick in the balls EVERY TIME.

I'd rather Mike Tyson, in his prime, kick me in the balls rather than be given a squared up/unblocked/clean shot to my head.

You're not going to walk away from either, but you're definitely going to have some serious head injury if you let the brute take a swing at you.

Besides, as a slashdotter, what are the odds of me actually needing to be able to father offspring? 90% of us use our brains, but I would venture to say that less than 5% of us need reproductive capabilities.

Just sayin'.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522942)

I need some coffee. I first your post as a "kiss in the balls" and immediately thought "Who would think that's as bad as a punch in the face?"

Re:Some good can come from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523912)

I need some coffee. I first your post as a "kiss in the balls" and immediately thought "Who would think that's as bad as a punch in the face?"

Depends on who's doing the kissing, I guess.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523946)

I need some coffee. I first your post as a "kiss in the balls"...

You'd better brew a whole pot.

Re:Some good can come from this (3, Interesting)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522582)

When a small personal site that I administer got hacked by the Chinese (thanks to a Blogger security hole), Google and Firefox both flagged it as "dangerous" and took appropriate actions to warn people that visiting my site was a huge security risk. For sites that have been compromised by malware, it's absolutely necessary to inform visitors that they're exposing their computers to risk by visiting.

Thus, having an "access blacklist" isn't always a bad thing. Something tells me Twitter isn't about to start censoring sites with information about the Freedom of Tibet or the Genocide in Darfur.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522668)

This is pretty much my stance on the matter. Personally I prefer blacklisting based on group "voting" or whatever you call it. If enough people flag it - then there's probably an issue and then a real person can review and see what the issue is. This plus notifying users that there's suspected malware on certain sites adds more than its fair share of value to the end user, in my opinion.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522894)

'if enough people flag it - then there's probably an issue'

you mean like if someone were to Tweet "hey, this site is spam, flag it please" about a perfectly valid site?

'Group think' is why representative democracies exist...the angry mob isn't exactly your best decision maker.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523358)

Valid point but that's why you have a human at the the end of the line who is a bit more educated than the average "tweeter". Or heck - even a board or something. There are ways to make it work.

Re:Some good can come from this (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522924)

They'll just block links to Facebook, Yahoo, MySpace, any torrents, news sites critical of Twitter, and coverage of things like the recently outed auto-follow bug...

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523082)

I used to use a "free" webhost that inexplicably blocked all pages with links embedded in them that sent the user to Amazon.com. This was particularly annoying to diagnose because it was hard to find a correlation between an Error Page that says a perfectly good URL doesn't exist and the content of said page.

Needless to say, I don't use that host anymore. If Twitter wants to make themselves irrelevant, then blocking Facebook, Yahoo, and MySpace sounds like a great idea.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524972)

Okay, I'll take my tongue out of my cheek for the reply.

Chances are they wouldn't be stupid enough to actually block those links outright. They're not as big and as entrenched as Apple, after all.

What they could easily do, though, is monitor exactly which features of the competition are mentioned, when, how, by whom, and how often. They could then react with market-based intelligence they'd have to spend millions for if they didn't control the communications channel. I'd say that's anticompetitive from the start.

The same tactic could be used to develop in-house versions of any Twitter-based applications, and even to analyze the data flow to make writing the "official" version easier. There's a real tension between developing a platform for other developers and developing new features in your platform based on the ideas of developers who used your platform. There is also an issue with dicking around with the platform without sufficient notice to ISVs.

See: Stac Electronics vs. Microsoft, Symantec vs. Microsoft, Quarterdeck code being bought for us in MS-DOS 5, early Windows versions approaching multitasking much as Desqview had done for DOS already, Microsoft shipping a Windows office application suite after telling all their ISVs they were going to market with OS/2, Windows including remote desktop, Windows including a browser, Windows including a media player, Apple putting out Garage Band, Apple putting out Final Cut, Apple putting out iWork and iLife and making them next to nothing to promote the platform, Mandriva putting out their own directory server, AMD and Intel doing graphics, Apple changing their iPhone and iPad SDK rules specifically to screw Adobe, Apple allowing people to think both major sets of APIs for OSX were going to be 64-bit some day right up until they decided Adobe'd need to rewrite everything to get 64-bit code on the platform, Apple dropping PPC like a hot potato when they went to Intel, Apple dropping m68k like a hot potato when they went to PPC, Apple granting clone licenses then killing the clone companies, Compaq killing Alpha over some cross-licensing issues with Intel, the many different incompatible and partially functional ways to script Windows and Microsoft applications over time (and sometimes incompatible ways at the same time across products)...

Have you ever wondered why the US has never gone completely metric? It's called leveraging an investment in a platform. That's something you can't do if the platform vendor changes things out from under you or starts making you product to bundle with its platform. Let's be glad Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, and the like aren't in the tool and hardware (both in their non-IT meanings) business like Stanley, Milwaukee, DeWalt, Kawasaki, Michigan, or Bosch.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524202)

I've had Google try to prevent me from going to perfectly legit sites free of taint, too.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32525278)

For sites that have been compromised by malware, it's absolutely necessary to inform visitors that they're exposing their computers to risk by visiting.

And, therefore, everybody should send every URL that they visit to Google or any other service? That's the most insane privacy setting that you can enable on your computer.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

zuperduperman (1206922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32530134)

Something tells me Twitter isn't about to start censoring sites

What tells you that? In all seriousness, you're basically using the rationalization that every censor has ever used before bringing down an iron fist - "trust us - we'll protect you". You need something a little more than just thinking these are nice guys and won't hurt you to justify putting this kind of control and power into someone's hands.

And it really is a double edged sword. When the links are direct Twitter clearly has nothing to do with the content - it's clear. Once these links go through twitter it is a lot more blurry - they start to bear liability for the content that is linked to. If it's child porn - Twitter is aiding people to access child porn. If it is malicious web sites - Twitter is distributing malware. They might not bear the whole responsibility, but they've inserted themselves into the chain. The minute they dabble in any way with filtering or controlling these links they are basically opening a giant can of worms. The only sensible thing they can do is to be a pure URL shortener and do *nothing* to the links. But it would be even better to not have them go through Twitter in the first place.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522648)

They also show the link to you in the feed but not in sms of course.
This is actually a good thing because it will be a tiny bit harder to hide where the link goes.
But notice I said a tiny bit harder. You can still use bit.ly and Twitter will wrap bit.ly.

Re:Some good can come from this (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#32533042)

If deployed properly this could actually enhance security a bit.

I don't think it's all about security. For example, if it's only about security, there's no need to check who clicked the link. You only need to block the content on the other end.

Wanna catch consumers of kiddy pr0n? No kiddy pr0n => no consumers => no need to catch anyone. So, again, blocking the target page instead of sniffing user activity takes care of this (at least on Twitter).

So, obviously, logging user data without a good reason is only useful if you intend to do something entirely different with it. I'm not all worked up about the privacy issues around this. For me, it sounds perfectly normal that the likes of Twitter and Facebook (oh, and Google, of course) would want to identify arbitrary activities on the Internet. It's useful for advertising and related activities.

Classic security versus privacy problem (1)

CoffeeDog (1774202) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522488)

With the rise of malicious links weeding through social networks and the various shortcomings of URL shortening services, I can see how this is useful. Twitter can "pull the plug" on a link instantly and it's automatically blocked on future tweets as well. Sure Twitter can get some sweet analytics out of it too, but if you don't like the fact they can see what you see then there's a magical mechanism called cut and paste too.

Re:Classic security versus privacy problem (2, Insightful)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522544)

And I suspect the people who use twitter don't have the need for privacy high on their list of priorities.

Re:Classic security versus privacy problem (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522850)

If you use ANYTHING on the Internet that is not encrypted then you're throwing away your "right" to privacy. I don't get how people can use sites like Twitter, Google, or Facebook and somehow expect some semblance of privacy. If you want privacy then don't share your data or encrypt it first before you send it to a known destination. It's like using a megaphone to talk with someone far away and then complaining that other people are listening to your conversation.

Re:Classic security versus privacy problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523798)

Wouldn't it use a Twitter redirect? (so you have to use their link to see what the final URL is)

Just wait a bit... (1)

ThinkingGuy (551764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522490)

I'm sure there are enough people bothered by this that it won't be long before someone comes up with a Firefox add-on to circumvent it.

Workaround (2, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522500)

I'm confident that at least some Twitter apps will simply not do this. What's Twitter going to do? Ban the popular apps? How would they even go about this? I fully expect the following interesting behavior by the apps that will end up being used the most by people like us.

1. The faker. It will report semi-random clicks or route garbage through the gateway, but never the user's real clicks.
2. The shirker. It will simply not route anything through the gateway.
3. The hider. It will shirk the gateway, but simultaneously masquerade as some other app that itself plays by the rules.

Twitter really has two options if they want to enforce something like this. They can force ALL apps to play by their rules (breaking functionality for perhaps a large portion of their userbase) or they can accept the fact that people will route around this. I don't see the former happening, in all honesty, and they've engendered little love from third party developers of late, so they can't count on developer goodwill either.

Re:Workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32522642)

It would be trivial for them to filter any URLs they don't like. They don't care about where you're going, but that some other business is potentially making money they can have for themselves. There aren't many URL shortening services to worry about. As these break the terms of service, they can simply drop the messages as they come in.

Re:Workaround (1)

Aikar (1158019) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522940)

I think the article title is incorrect. There shouldn't be anything that applications themselves do over API. Twitter would simply rewrite all URL's tweeted to their router on page view. so when ever tweets are viewed all url's bounce through an exit node. many sites do this

Re:Workaround (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523604)

or they can accept the fact that people will route around this

They can require apps to authenticate with a signed certificate and revoke any that leak. So the authors will have to put DRM into their apps and stop distributing open source. And they'll have to kill the Twitter web client so nobody writes a scraper.

Wait, maybe this idea wasn't entirely well thought-through. Some knucklehead probably said, "we should be selling an ad for each of these clicks!". Maybe they should try to figure out a business model that can work instead of one they wish could work. Maybe Twitter's web interface could have included a URL shortener 3 years ago with 30 lines of javascript instead of trying to retroactively herd the elvises.

I'd hate to see them disappear and try to exist as a company suing Facebook for patent infringement. Gah, I miss the discussions about whether their service sucks because they used Rails or because they tried to scale vertically.

Learnign from the pros... (4, Insightful)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522766)

"Hey guys, you know how Facebook's been getting away with screwing over the entire world on privacy issues?"
"Uh, yeah?"
"And you know how our average users are even dumber than theirs?"
"Wouldn't have thought it possible if I I hadn't seen it in action, but yeah?"
"Well...Why don't we..."
"Ohhhhhhhh!"

Re:Learnign from the pros... (2, Interesting)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523050)

Fark.com has been doing this forever, at least for the main links. I'm quite surprised they haven't done it for inline links, yet.

-l

Re:Learnign from the pros... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523820)

Where did the idea that Twitter was supposed to be private come from? It's a completely public channel-- privacy is never implied and in fact runs fairly contrary to the service.

As for why Twitter is doing this, I'll offer some thoughts. Full disclosure, I do web analytics for a living and in particular look at a lot of what is bucketed under the Social Media umbrella, Twitter of course being a large one.

One big question many large companies have relates to the potential ROI of Twitter. e.g, what return do we get for using it. Or, who's influencing my brand, what about revenue, sentiment etc?

One initial way to tie Twitter activities from a corporate level to dollars is to look at referrers to your site as they tie in with events you have declared important. e.g, if large e-tailer rep X Tweets about Product Y and link to it, and say 20 people click through and purchase, there's a tangible benefit to that company from Twitter that they can reference.

It also says something about that channel (the rep in this case, but it could just be some random person), and how leveraging it can benefit the organization further.

By showing the "value" of Twitter, Twitter opens up potential revenue channels, something they sorely lack.

Currently, if you use bit.ly or another shortener, your referrer is discarded, so the link is broken from a tracking, measuring, and, eventually, a valuation perspective. All of these things are important to a service that is struggling to find a way to make any money, and personally, I think it far less bothersome than Facebook, due to the nature of the services.

Trending URLs would be great! (1)

bhodikhan (894485) | more than 3 years ago | (#32522818)

It would be interesting to also see a list of trending URL links. Would be nice to see the popular links as well as trending topics. This would give them the data to allow that.

Re:Trending URLs would be great! (1)

Logibeara (1620627) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523696)

That would be fantastic. Even when its abused by bots, sending me into the abyss of malware.

The million dollar question (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523058)

Which site will survive this move, bit.ly or twitter?

Re:The million dollar question (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32523368)

We can only hope that they both die.

Re:The million dollar question (1)

afiske (1639599) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524596)

Actually, I don't think it will really affect bit.ly in as direct a way as people are imagining. Twitter wraps the bit.ly URL, so bit.ly still gets to capture all the links/clicks. FTFA:

"our current plan is that no user will see a t.co URL on twitter.com but we still have some details to work through. the links will still be displayed as they were sent in, but the target of the link will be the t.co link instead."

...and...

"we're not modifying or tampering with URLs - if you send us a bit.ly link, we will wrap that bit.ly link. analytics will still work, etc."

So people will still see a bit.ly URL, which will point to a t.co URL, which will resolve to a bit.ly URL, which will resolve to the original URL. Both twitter and bit.ly get their hits, analytics, etc.

Of course, this could indirectly harm bit.ly, because their huge datasets [techcrunch.com] might become less valuable if others (i.e., twitter) are aggregating essentially the same thing.

302 redirect (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523130)

I don't see why Twitter can't just massage all the URLs in the pages they deliver to first point to their servers which then insert an additional 302 redirect for tracking. It's not like they don't have complete control over this. Any URL shortening service will still work with this arrangement. They could even do it like Google and only employ this technique for a percentage of the web pages served up.

How will it work (a.k.a. what are twitter apps)? (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523470)

So having never used twitter before; Are these apps for cellphones? Do they intend to replace or force developers to replace all links t.co/wtf? Sounds like an icredible blow to security, not knowing where the links are going to send you.

But if it's just a rule, what's keeping everyone from breaking it?

Why change API? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523710)

They're already scanning the tweets for urls to turn them into clickable hyperlinks. Why can't they do the url-swapping themselves?

Changing a working API that people are already using, for no gain: dumb.

Re:Why change API? (2, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523790)

They distribute 140 character chunks of information, we can just route around them by making an open source twitter.

Re:Why change API? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524296)

They're already scanning the tweets for urls to turn them into clickable hyperlinks.

They're doing that in the web front-end, not in the backend engine. The API bypasses the web front-end to access the back-end engine. Doing the scanning and replacement in the back-end would slow down the basic system (since it would have to be done as everything moves through the system, rather than just for those tweets that are viewed through the web front end). Its a lot cheaper for Twitter to require that people using the API (and thus developing apps that bypass the twitter's own web front end) do that work for them, since that puts the load on whatever machine the custom apps are running on rather than on Twitter's servers.

what is twitter using as the hash key? (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32523824)

They don't explicitly mention this (I suspect for reasons that are about to become clear), but it's not clear to me what twitter is using to hash their links. It could be the target URL, but it could just as easily be $user_id + $tweet_id. With 8 url-safe characters, they have room for ~300-700billion possible links (depending on their definition of url-safe), which means if one user posts a tweet with a link in it and then someone else RT's it or posts a tweet pointing to that same url, these tweets may very well have different t.co links!

If so, that gives twitter the ability not only to track information about what links a user clicks on, but also a way to track which user and tweet they got the URL from, which opens the door to all sorts of interesting, privacy defeating, stats.

This is all speculation of course, but I'd like to see what twitter says about this.

And when the Gateway goes down? (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 3 years ago | (#32524558)

Nothing good comes to the people from spying on the people or modifying their data. It only gives the Powers That Be a better knife to slice us up with.

So post links to twitter hide-a-links. (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 3 years ago | (#32529972)

Repeat the process until twitter is spending 95% of its CPU/database time resolving chains of links to itself.
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