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Hoax Alert

Twitter Appears To Be Blocking All Blogspot.co.uk Links

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:36:13 Z)

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Something weird appears to be going on with the sharing of links on Twitter to articles on the UK domain name blogspot.co.uk of Google's Blogspot/Blogger service. Blogger is one of the oldest blogging services around. It was created by Pyra Labs and got acquired by Google in 2003. Blogs published on the site end up on subdomains of "blogspot.com" but depending on which country visitors are coming from they get redirected to to a country-specific domain. For example if a Belgian visitor tries to visit someblog.blogspot.com he will end up at someblog.blogspot.be.

We were first made aware of the issue though this tweet (archived):

We decided to investigate for ourselves by trying to post a link to a subdomain on blogspot.co.uk that we made up for the test:

test1.jpg

And indeed, we were unable to publish the link:

test2.jpg

Next we simply changed ".co.uk" to ".com" and tried again:

test3.jpg

This resulted in an actual tweet being sent out (which we have since deleted):

test4.jpg

When we performed a search for "blogspot.co.uk" on Twitter we did find recent tweets that seemed to contain the subdomain in question:

But when we attempted to actually click the (URL shortened) link in the tweet it took us to a page that looked like this (archived here):

test5.jpg

So it looks like Twitter is accusing an official UK coast guard website of being spam/malicious in nature/violating their TOS:

http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/

The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful or associated with a violation of Twitter's Terms of Service. This link could lead to a site that:

  • steals your password or other personal information
  • installs malicious software programs on your computer
  • collects your personal information for spam purposes
  • has been associated with a violation of Twitter's Terms of Service

Some UK Twitter users were already getting quite upset about this:

We have reached out to Twitter for comment.

Updates:

: It appears the block has been lifted now.

: Edited the title again to be findable in Google News...

: We updated this story to add a space between "Blogspot" and ".co.uk" in the title so it wouldn't be blocked by Twitter...

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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