This happened tonight, shortly after Facebook took the same decision. Even Bit.ly itself is banned, see picture below. This happens only with Chrome, but not with other browsers such as IE or Firefox. The ban will probably be lifted in several hours.

This brings interesting questions:

  • Bit.ly is a widely used URL shorterner and traffic tracking tool for marketers. But Google has its own URL shorterner - Goo.gl. So there's a conflict of interest here: is Google trying to force us to use Goo.gl instead of bit.ly?
  • Why ban all bit.ly URLs while only a tiny fraction are corrupted? Why can't Google identify the bad apples and only ban those ones - it's very easy to identify the culprits, you don't even need advanced data science 
  • How come bit.ly is unable to detect scammers, and block them? Don't they have data scientists? Again, this is elementary data science.
  • Also, it's not like Google's data science is perfect, click here to see an example where it miserably fails.

For your curiosity, you can check http://safebrowsing.clients.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site... to verify if a website is safe or not, according to Google (replace bit.ly with any domain you want to check). And maybe what Google is trying to do with the bit.ly ban, is to get people to visit their safebrowsing website security app.

Maybe this is more a "business politics" issue or the result of competitive wars, rather than a data science / true security issue. After all, everyone knows that our bit.ly redirects are safe, as we use bit.ly only for internal redirects. Unless of course, if bit.ly has been so badly attacked by hackers, that many of their redirects have been re-redirected. But I know that's not the case.  

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