A Look at the Privacy Issues of Facebook vs Twitter

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Ceo Gives A press Conference In Paris

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Facebook's configuration of default privacy settings is geared towards invading your privacy and often forces you to share your data and your friends' data if you want to use apps. Twitter is a lot less intrusive and does not force you to share your data, or of those you are associated with, so far. And, while Facebook uses the data it collects to target you with ads that appear on your site - ads that others can see, Twitter does not let the world know you might be interested in sex toys, losing weight, or like to listen to polka music. Twitter only tells others what you Tweet, or show in your public profile settings.

Is Twitter More Secure Than Facebook?

Twitter is superior to Facebook if you want to build communities comprised of total strangers without inadvertently sharing personal messages or information. In fact, the very concept of Facebook is an Orwellian platform to keep tabs on other people — where they live, check-in, where they have been, and what users like, the music they listen to or videos viewed on other websites and even announce your game and IQ scores.

A quick look at any Facebook user's timeline demonstrates how easily Facebook picks data from tags in images and field entries to tell people where you have been - from your birthplace to where you shop or had dinner with friends. It is also true with your Facebook business page. You need to carefully peruse Facebook privacy settings — and change some of them — to make sure your personal page and business page do not mix or share data. Further complicating Facebook's privacy settings- you have to decide to hide things from certain groups of people, friends, the entire "world," and some information about yourself you cannot be hidden from anyone.

In 2009, Facebook changed its privacy default settings to allow a substantial amount of your private information to be shared — something that remains unclear three years later, especially to novice users:

"Our conclusion? These new 'privacy' changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before," Bankston wrote. "Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data." Source: ComputerWorld.com

Facebook personal and business pages are indexed by search engines. In 2011, Google developed the technology also to index Facebook comments. Twitter tweets are not indexed.

While there are Facebook settings that allow you to limit who can see what, this involves thought and a plan, and there has been more than one well-publicized story about someone who was fired for Facebook status updates that were not intended for the public (boss') eyes.

Here are just a few:

It should, however, also be noted that Facebook is not the culprit -- people have also been fired for their tweets. The issue is accountability -- be careful what you post anywhere on the Internet because nothing you say is ever truly anonymous.

Many Facebook Third Party Apps Force You to Share Information

Another consideration is that, depending on your Facebook privacy settings, some of your personal data may also be accessible to robots. The information spam robots collect is often used by or sold to third parties. Facebook third-party apps also glean information - information, by accepting the terms of the app, you allow them to access (or, in many cases, if you don't you cannot use their apps.) What you may not realize is that under your app settings you may be able to go in after accepting the terms and further limit access.

To see what information your Facebook apps can access, go to Apps Center, My Apps You will see a list of all apps associated with your Facebook profile or business page. Click on "settings" for any app, and you can see what information the app accesses, and are sometimes offered options to change the settings. Twitter does not require much thought when it comes to privacy other than using your common sense. Get an account, follow people and Tweet. Subscribers will only know about you from what you Tweet and allow them to see in your master profile settings.