Last night, you may have found yourself on Twitter, clicking in frustration on shortlinks that didn’t actually go anywhere. No, it wasn’t your computer. It wasn’t the link. It wasn’t even Twitter. It was a company in Australia that was replying to a complaint and inadvertently shut down Twitter’s shortlink domain, t.co.
The rich irony here is that the company was trying to stop a phishing site, something Twitter introduced the shortlinks to make sure would never pop up on the site.
A spokesman for Melbourne IT, a domain name registrar which Twitter uses for t.co, told CNET this afternoon that: “Yesterday in the process of actioning a phishing complaint, our policy team inadvertently placed the t.co domain on hold. The error was realized and rectified in approximately 40 minutes and t.co links again began working.”
In other words, they took down all of t.co, meaning they shut down a fair chunk of the reason why people even Tweet in the first place.
Twitter introduced the shortlink function largely as a convenience to its users, but at the time, several tiresome nerds, who are right but still tiresome nerds, pointed out that this essentially meant that somebody who was either a moron or a teenager could essentially shut down Twitter’s ability to fire off any outbound links at what amounted to the push of a button.
In other words, now that Anonymous knows that they can do this, expect it to happen a lot.