Twitter’s Weeks-Long Ban on Sending URLs in Direct Messages

Twitter support message:

We’re restructuring back-end elements of our direct message system. As a result, users may be unable to send some URLs in direct messages. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Matthew Panzarino reported on this back on October 17:

The inconsistencies that we noticed with regards to the sending and receiving of URLs is due to the fact that Verified users and advertisers are exempted from the ban on sending links in DMs. This would impede, of course, the efforts of marketers using Twitter’s legitimate advertising platform to send DMs, something that is part of the flow of a few of Twitter’s ad products. Alcohol advertisers, for instance, use the DMs to verify ages and more. There are also some whitelisted URLs, as noted by the ReadWrite report. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter links appear to work, and there are likely others on the list.

If the problem was widespread, maybe they had to do what they had to do. But it’s certainly a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” approach to spam. And since you can only receive DMs from people whom you follow, how widespread could this be? How many people follow hacked accounts?

Update: There is a mystery element, too. Some people (non-verified accounts) can still send URLs in DMs, but some (most?) cannot. No idea what’s going on.

Monday, 2 December 2013