Now that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has gone public, the comparisons between it and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are increasing. The two provide social networking platforms which are quite different and are used differently by those who use both. But which one of them is more reliable than the other? Hend Salah of the Las Vegas Guardian Express sees Twitter as being the more reliable one. From what I can see, any one of these points is debatable.
Twitter and Facebook on privacy
Of course two places where Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has gained in notoriety deal with privacy and security. The social network has been hit with numerous lawsuits about privacy, most notably for using the personal information of users in advertisements without paying them. Salah says that this means all of Facebook’s managers are able to see all of the information posted by users all the time and can use them for whatever they want, noting that this “doesn’t sound so safe.”
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This point is certainly true, but anyone who posts things on Facebook thinking that they are private is only fooling themselves. There is no such thing as true privacy on the Internet. Just ask the National Security Agency. And the numerous stories of people getting fired over things they posted on Facebook just goes to show that whatever you put up there can be seen by many more people than you think can see it.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is, by its nature, very different in that people know it is a public forum. As a result, people don’t expect the same level of privacy they do on Facebook. But this is more a matter of the way people view these two social networks. If people weren’t so fooled by Facebook’s so-called “privacy practices,” then perhaps they would have a more realistic view of it.
Security on Facebook and Twitter
Security is also an issue with both networks, and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has apparently made some efforts to increase it. Reports suggested that the company was trying to thwart efforts by the NSA and other government entities, but these are unsubstantiated.
It would take a security expert (which I am not by any means) to know if Twitter really does offer more and better security than Facebook. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve never had my Facebook account hacked, although I had some serious problems with my Twitter account within the last month or so. No amount of changing the password or even linking it to my mobile phone helped. Eventually I had to use an entirely new email address to get the hacking to stop. It was most obnoxious.
Also both Facebook and Twitter face what perhaps is the biggest threat to safety on the Internet: spam links. People clicking on spam links has been a problem since email was a new thing, and this issue is most likely a huge problem on both social networks.
Which is more “likely” to be hacked?
Salah also suggests that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) accounts may be more likely to be hacked than Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) accounts because of the fact that Twitter accounts are more public. However, we’ve seen our fair share of headlines in which hackers gained access to Twitter accounts belonging to high profile brand names.
What better way to share your message or otherwise throw a wrench into the works than by hacking the public account of a brand with tens or even hundreds of thousands followers? By hacking into big accounts, hackers gain access to tens of thousands of pairs of eyeballs which will see what they post, whether it’s an advertisement for the company’s competitor or some kind of social statement. Having your Twitter account hacked was so trendy for a while that MTV and BET apparently faked it. Even the Associated Press’ account was hacked earlier this year. It certainly is a good thing Twitter amped up security since all of these things happened.
Of course the type of hacking affecting Facebook and Twitter is quite different. Hacks of Facebook accounts may be smaller and aimed at gathering personal information, but there are so many other loopholes on Facebook in which personal information could be collected in other ways.