Twitter links fail for short time as t.co experiences outage

Users were unable to click on shortened links in tweets. Instead, they were sent to a Twitter error page with a broken-robot image and a message that "something is technically wrong."

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
Twitter's service that shortens Web addresses stopped working. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET

Twitter's t.co link shortener feature experienced a brief outage today, preventing users from accessing other sites when clicking on hyperlinks in tweets.

Instead of directing users to the link they chose, it sent them to a page with an error message that "something is technically wrong," and an image of a robot that had lost one of its parts. It's unclear what caused the problem, but the outage appears to have started at about 6:45 a.m. PT. The links were working again by 7:10 a.m. PT.

Twitter acknowledged the issue through a blog post, saying that "some users may have experienced an issue with links contained within tweets." The company declined to provide further information about the outage.

Twitter in 2011 began to abbreviate all hyperlinks using its t.co domain name, which it predicted would boost analytics and give the company "a means to protect users from malicious sites and scams." However, what it didn't say was that by routing all outbound links through t.co, it added a central point of failure that previously didn't exist.

The hyperlink feature has experienced outages before, including one in October that caused millions of Twitter users to receive "non-existent domain" errors when trying to follow links.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. PT with Twitter comment.