Twitter’s URL shortening service, which replaces hyperlinks with its own t.co domain, suffered an outage on Monday following an abuse complaint made to the Australian company that hosts the domain registration. CNet discovered that Melbourne IT placed the t.co domain on hold after it received a phishing complaint, breaking links on the social network for millions of users in the process. The shortening service was designed to weed out malicious links as well as spam, but as Monday’s outage showed, it introduced a single point of failure that effectively crippled any sharing across the network.
Twitter has been tightening the grip on its social network lately, introducing controversial API rules in an attempt to discourage additional third party clients and drive people to the official Twitter experience on the web as well as mobile. The t.co shortening service, introduced in August 2011, is another sign of the company’s intent to maintain full control over the network. The outage on Monday, however, is the perfect example of how such control can backfire and affect the overall experience when things go wrong.