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Twitter is taking steps to make itself more self-reliant, and towards that end, the microblogging service on Tuesday announced it will automatically slice and dice URLs into shortened links. This essentially cuts out the middlemen, like Bit.ly, TinyURL, Goo.gl, and whatever else you might have been using to free up as many of those 140 characters as possible.
"Just paste a link of any length into the Tweet box on Twitter.com. After you've composed your Tweet and you hit the 'Tweet' button, we'll shorten the link so that it only takes up 19 characters," Twitter explains in a blog post.
The built-in URL shortening service comes with a couple of safeguards, the first being that it's a shortened version of the original rather than an obscure collection of characters. And secondly, "if users click links that are reported as malicious, we direct them to a page that warns them," Twitter says.
Twitter users still have the option of using a third-party URL shortening service like Bit.ly, which squishes web addresses into 13 characters as opposed to 19.