About Twitter's link service (http://t.co)

Below are some frequently asked questions about t.co, Twitter's link-shortening service.

How does link shortening work?

Links shared on Twitter.com will automatically be shortened to a http://t.co link. Learn how to shorten links herePlease note: t.co links are neither private nor public; anyone with the link will be able to navigate to the content.

Why does Twitter have its own link shortener?

  1. Shortened links allow you to share long URLs in a Tweet while maintaining the maximum number of characters for your message.
  2. Our link service measures information such as how many times a link has been clicked, which is an important quality signal in determining how relevant and interesting each Tweet is when compared to similar Tweets.
  3. Having a link shortener protects users from malicious sites that engage in spreading malware, phishing attacks, and other harmful activity. A link converted by Twitter’s link service is checked against a list of potentially dangerous sites. Users are warned with the error message below when clicking on potentially harmful URLs. 

If the URL of a site you manage has been flagged, please see this help page about flagged URLs for more information.

Can I opt out of link shortening when I post a Tweet?

Because of the reasons listed above, Twitter will shorten URLs you post on Twitter.com. You cannot opt out of link shortening. 

Can I still use a URL shortener (like bit.ly) to shorten links?

If you want to shorten links to share with others, please see this help page on using URL shorteners. You can continue to use a URL shortener to shorten links, and tracking metrics (like those from bit.ly) will continue to work as they did previously. The link service at http://t.co is only used on links posted on Twitter.com and is not available as a general shortening service on other apps or sites.