Twitter has announced some major changes to its t.co link wrapper. Now, the character limit for the tweets with URLs will be restricted to 118. If the website being linked has more secure “https” protocol, users now get only 117 characters to add commentary, where previously it was 119.
The Twitter announcement with regard to change in the tweet length was made last year and now the company has announced the beginning of the implementation starting February 20 2013. Here's some excerpts from the Twitter Blog on the development:
“We’d like to share some upcoming changes to our t.co link wrapper with the ecosystem. We’re going to be extending the maximum length of t.co wrapped links from 20 to 22 characters for non-https URLs, and 21 to 23 characters for https URLs.”
“To give everyone enough time to update their applications, this change won’t go into effect for two months - so please consider this a heads up. On February 6th, 2013, the GET help/configuration method will start to return the updated values for the length of characters returned in the following key-value pairs:
The blog further says Twitter will begin generating and returning t.co URLs with this new maximum length two weeks later on February 20th, 2013.
It's notable when a user posts a link, Twitter automatically wraps it in another link beginning t.co despite third party URL-shortening services such as bit.ly are used. According to the company, the t.co helps protect its service from malicious websites that could spread viruses and track the popular links being shared.