For the whole time I’ve used Twitter, I’ve had my account set to public, and had open conversations with other people. I’ve also had private conversations via Direct Message (DM), with close friends.
While we privately chat about all manner of things, sometimes this is used to send URLs between each other that we don’t want the rest of the world to see. We might be chatting a job offer I don’t want to advertise publicly, a website that is especially good or bad, but is only of interest to one person, or something that some might deem offensive that I know one good friend will find amusing. We might be discussing a radio feature we’re thinking about, or some part of an upcoming podcast. And this is where Twitter now sucks. We used to be able to chat away, share web links aplenty. And then Twitter made some changes, and it just doesn’t work anymore.
I’ll go “hey did you see this in the news yesterday?” and dare to try and include a link to a website like which twitter then blocks. And what does it block? Loads of stuff. And it doesn’t block it intelligently like Google Chrome does. It blocks it like a moron. Like the worst kind of Internet filter, randomly deciding that the Huffington Post (US) site is fine, while the Huffington Post (UK) site is too evil to be allowed. The Mirror is ok, the Metro is ok, the Daily Mail is ok, a website of my own that makes podcasts – parkandgardner.com – no? Why not?)
I use Echofon for Twitter on my Mac. When a link gets blocked, I get a message, which when expanded, reads:
What are you meant to do with that? If you click the cutdown message that accompanies that, you get taken to this page: https://dev.twitter.com/docs/error-codes-responses, where error 403 says:
The request is understood, but it has been refused or access is not allowed. An accompanying error message will explain why. This code is used when requests are being denied due to update limits.”
An accompanying message will explain why. Great. In fairness, that’s still better than what happens when you try and do it through twitter web, where you just get:
Great work guys. That helps me solve the problem a lot.
So which web addresses does Twitter DM refuse?
Here’s an ongoing/maybe-semi-regularly-updated alphabetical list of web urls that I’ve discovered do/don’t work via Twitter DMs. As you’ll see, it’s pretty random what they do/don’t allow. Engadget yes, but Gizmodo no. You may share a link to a book on Amazon fine, but not the same book via Waterstones.
amazon.co.uk – works!
(And .com too)
bbc.co.uk – works!
ben-park.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
(You’ll just have to be rude about me publicly, it seems.)
bristol.gov.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
Bristol City Council’s website is just too exciting for Twitter. Didn’t hit me at the time, but this also means you can’t DM links to anything else *.gov.uk.
bristolpost.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
(My local newspaper.)
cnet.com – works!
dailymail.co.uk – works!
diy.com – works!
(B&Q yes, but Wickes no.)
ebay.co.uk – works!
(And .com too.)
engadget.com – works!
express.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
(Daily Mail yes, Daily Express no. How come?)
fiverr.com – works!*
(*It didn’t used to. On 18 October 2013 I queried this address with Twitter. They seemed to do absolutely nothing about it at the time, told me they had broken rules on advertising or something, but as of 13 March 2014, it now works.)
flickr.com – works!
gizmodo.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
gu.com – works!
(Short-link version of theguardian.com)
henleazegardenshop.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
That’s a small garden centre near me. Reasonable prices, a good range, and evidently.. big-time twitter troublemakers.
huffingtonpost.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
huffingtonpost.com – works!
(Why is .com fine, but .co.uk not? FFS!)
independent.co.uk – works! (sorta)
(independent.co.uk links work. But the shortened URL that their site generates in the form of http://ind.pn/<random> doesn’t. That gets blocked. Gu.com – the similar system the Guardian use, IS accepted. Nonsensical filtering system.)
imgur.com – works!
itv.com – works!
jackbristol.com – doesn’t work 🙁
(A local radio station. In fairness, nor does Heart.co.uk, absoluteradio.co.uk, xfm.co.uk or a whole load of other radio stations I tried.)
jimdavidson.org.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
kylie.com – doesn’t work 🙁
(Nor rihannanow.com, jamesblunt.com, tomjones.com, katyperry.com, and I went through half the iTunes top 20 singles at random, with twitter refusing to send urls to any of their official websites. Twitter hates music. Although last.fm works.)
last.fm – works!
mirror.co.uk – works!
myvue.com – doesn’t work 🙁
(Popular cinema chain.)
odeon.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
parkandgardner.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
parkandgardner.com – doesn’t work 🙁
(Why is my own website blocked?)
showcasecinemas.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
telegraph.co.uk – works!
theguardian.com – works!
thesun.co.uk – works!
(In the interests of testing associated products, page3.com doesn’t.)
tmz.com – works!
vimeo.com – works!
watershed.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
In fairness, none of the cinema chains worked either.
waterstones.com – doesn’t work 🙁
wickes.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
(B&Q’s website is allowed though?)
whsmith.co.uk – doesn’t work 🙁
wired.com – works!
youtube.com – works!
zdnet.com – works!