Facebook vs Twitter is a flawed comparison

by on Apr.27, 2009, under Uncategorized

Marshall Fitzpatrick writes on ReadWriteWeb that "despite new openness, Facebook remains fundamentally closed".

What are people saying on Facebook about the swine flu? Facebook knows, but they won’t tell you. The company made a major move today to open up some of the data on the site in some interesting ways – but the conversation on Facebook remains fundamentally closed due to extensive privacy limitations and the company’s disinterest in overcoming those limitations in an appropriate way.

Ask Twitter what people are saying on that site about the swine flu and you can get the full story to parse until you’re blue in the face.

Um, I can’t help thinking he’s comparing apples with polar bears here.

Twitter and Facebook are two very different beasts. On Twitter, it’s expected that whatever you say is public, and can be seen both by your followers and the general public on the public timeline (unless of course you’ve protected your updates, but I don’t think many Twitter users do that (I’d be interested to know the percentage that do, actually)).

On the other hand, you have different fingers Facebook is built from the ground up to facilitate sharing information with your friends, and only your friends – there isn’t much public access to the data.

The fact that you can’t readily find out what people are talking about via Facebook APIs in the way that you can with Twitter is not a surprise to me.

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