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Lawyers more apt to trust Twitter than Facebook?


Facebook may be experiencing explosive growth, but time and again I hear from lawyers that they find Twitter more professional and that they don’t trust Facebook when it comes to privacy.

New York Times columnist, Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) compared Twitter and Facebook to “The Tortoise and the Hare,” in a piece last week.

To run so quickly, Facebook exploded because it slurped up endless amounts of data about its users. It often did so in ways that earned it scorn from those worried about privacy and the implications of personal data used by others. Again and again, Facebook pushed the boundaries of people’s privacy by making things public that had once been declared private on its site. It continually opted people into new features that clearly overstepped the company’s original privacy agreements.

As to slow growing Twitter?

Twitter, on the hand, has taken an opposite approach. The company has never made its users’ private information public when it has introduced new features. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has not endlessly changed its privacy policy. Users of the site trust Twitter more.

A recent CNBC poll bears out the public’s lack of trust in Facebook.

  1. Just 13% of people trust Facebook completely or a lot to keep their information private.
  2. A large majority (59%) of people have little or no faith in Facebook to protect their privacy

Look no further than Twitter’s recent feature intended to improve the suggestions of whom we ought to follow, says Bilton.

To make the new service work, Twitter needs to do some snooping. Did privacy groups come out and berate Twitter for its actions? No. Did the F.T.C. announce an investigation into the company’s practices? Actually, quite the opposite. The government proudly announced Twitter’s ability to let people opt out of the new feature.

I am not overly concerned about my privacy when it comes to social media and social networking. Many of you have seen me share personal pictures, personal information, and my contact info freely.

Safeway knows everything I’ve bought for food items in the last 13 years by my trading my identity for discounts. Credit card and catalogue companies are likely trading my demographic and buying decisions.

I view giving up a little privacy to Twitter or Facebook as my means of getting served up better and more tailored information. Whether it be a better ads (think junk mail and catalogues in your home mailbox), better search results, or better suggestions for whom and what I ought to follow.

I do understand the privacy concerns of other lawyers though. Especially those lawyers who are in the business of advising corporations, organizations, and individuals on Internet privacy matters.

I’ve become a regular user of Facebook. I find it a great place to nurture relationships with friends, relatives, clients, and business associates.

I’m finding a good deal of lawyers doing the same thing. But many lawyers may choose to stay away from Facebook because of privacy concerns.

I tend to agree with Bilton that when it comes to long-term, trusting relationships, “Twitter will take it slowly and steadily, and in doing so, could win the race.”

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