Some Twitter users have been unable to send direct messages containing links, according to multiple reports.
The issue, which was first reported on Wednesday night, comes a few days after the social network rolled out a new option that lets you send direct messages to anyone, even those not following you. This new feature led to speculation that Twitter was blocking links in direct messages to stop spam spread via URLs contained in direct messages, perhaps by hacked accounts.
On Thursday, Twitter posted a note on its direct message help page, stating that the glitch was due to technical issues.
“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,” the note read.
However, we wouldn’t be surprised if the link-blocking was Twitter’s response to a deluge in spam links sent via direct message. Twitter did not respond to our request for comment.
“Twitter has a lot of security issues,” Andrea Stroppa, an hacker and security researchers who has exposed the businesses of social spam on Facebook and fake Twitter followers, told Mashable. “It’s spammers’ and phishers’ favorite platform.”
According to reports and our own tests, it seems that verified users can indeed send links via direct message, even to non-verified users. But non-verified users can only send certain links — presumably white-listed ones from websites like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
On TweetDeck, trying to send a Mashable link via DM returns the following error message: “There was an error sending your message: Text contains malware.” On Twitter’s web site, a reply to the same direct message simply reads: “Sorry, an error occurred while sending this message.”
Social spam is an increasing problem. In the first half of 2013, the amount of spam on social media networks increased 355%.
Image: Mashable composite; iStockphoto, luchezar, Twitter