Thursday, January 11, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Sharing Links From iOS Twitter Appends Tracking Garbage to the URL

Benjamin Mayo:

There’s been a change to the official Twitter app in the last few months that affects anyone who tries to share a URL from inside the app. Using the standard activity view controller, recognised as the system share sheet, the Twitter app surreptitiously appends some query string parameters to the original URL.

[…]

If the user commits to sharing the URL without amending the link, Twitter can see that its iOS app was the origin of the engagement if that URL is posted publicly.

[…]

If you share to Bear, the string will literally contain the words ‘Bear-iPhone-Sharing-Extension’. One of the more obtuse ones I’ve seen is com.tinyspeck.chatlyio.share … but a quick Google search reveals that it represents the Slack sharing extension.

The fact that thee last component changes dynamically based on what action the user selects feels invasive if you don’t know what’s going on at the API level. Users are told that the activity share sheet is managed by Apple so instinctively it feels like being able to grab the activity type is nefarious.

1 Comment

This also happens on the mobile web site if you click the down caret and click "copy link to tweet".

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