Link shorteners like bit.ly are wildly helpful when you’re sharing a long URL that could have TL;DR‘d itself! πŸ€“ I also find that they come in handy when I want to track the stats on a URL πŸ“Š, such as how many people are clicking and where they’re clicking from. They don’t fully mask the original URL after the user clicks through or enters the URL into their browser, and rather just pass the user on to the intended destination through a handy redirect. ↩️ When a user sees a shortened URL that you share, it looks something like this: bit.ly/aWh0l3BunchOfL3tt3r$, unless you choose to customize it. But really, the user is trusting you with a lot here! πŸ˜¬πŸ™

After all, the destination could very well be anything: a spammy site at best, πŸ“¨ a phishing scam at “ughhhhh”, πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™‚οΈ and a malicious download at (possible) worst. πŸ¦Ήβ€β™€οΈ

I’ve gotten a couple of text messages in my time that have had bit.ly links that I totally knew had “uh oh” written all over them! πŸ™„ So instead of clicking in to confirm my suspicion, I reported this short link misuse to bit.ly right away! ✍️

bit.ly's header in their reporting form. Click this to go to the form to report a bad short link now!

Here is bit.ly’s (short, heehee) article on it: https://support.bitly.com/hc/en-us/articles/231247908-What-can-I-do-about-an-unsafe-Bitly-link-

And here is the reporting form: https://bitly.com/pages/trust/report-abuse

I recommend that you report right away to prevent others from getting trapped! πŸ’€ I always include the phone number that sent it as well and the content of the text in the message field. πŸ’¬ The support team is fast to respond to disable those links, πŸ”— and often, they’ll ban the user account that created it. They’ll give you an update of the run down, if that helps to set your mind at ease as well. 😌

Happy and safe surfing (sans shortlink misuse)! πŸ₯¬