People say that Facebook is for connecting with the people you went to school with and Twitter is for people you wished you had gone to school with. While Facebook is a multi-purpose social networking platform, allowing users to chat, post photos and notes, and play games, Twitter is built around the posting of short 140 character messages, or “tweets.” They are the two most popular social networks in the world. This comparison looks at their history, growth in user base, strengths and weaknesses.

Comparison chart

Facebook versus Twitter comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartFacebookTwitter
  • current rating is 3.79/5
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  • current rating is 3.95/5
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(481 ratings)
Features Facebook features include the, Friends, Fans, Wall, News Feed, Fan Pages, Groups, Apps, Live Chat, Likes, Photos, Videos, Text, Polls, Links, Status, Pokes, Gifts, Games, Messaging, Classified section, upload and download options and others Tweet, Retweet, Direct Messaging, Follow People & Trending Topics, Links, Photos, Videos
Alexa Rank 2 (August 2014) 11 (September 2013)
Introduction (from Wikipedia) Facebook is a social networking service launched in February 2004, owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. As of September 2013, Facebook has over one billion active users, more than half of whom use Facebook on a mobile device. Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".
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Key people Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO; Dustin Moskovitz, Co-founder; Sheryl Sandberg, COO; Matt Cohler, VP of Product Management; Chris Hughes, Co-founder Jack Dorsey, Chairman; Evan Williams, CEO; Biz Stone, Creative Director
Advertising Advertising supported in the form of banner ads, referral marketing, casual games Advertising supported in the form of promoted tweets
Upload photographs Yes Yes
Current status Active Active
Private messages Yes Yes
Instant messaging Yes No
Launch date February 4, 2004 July 6, 2006
Type of site Social networking service Social networking service
Number of users 1.28 billion (monthly active, March 2014) Over 500 million
Founded by Mark Zuckerberg Jack Dorsey
Post updates Yes Yes
Play games Yes No
Headquarters location Menlo Park, California, United States San Francisco, California, United States
Users express approval of content by "Like", "Share", or "Comment" "Retweet" or "Favorite"
Share links Yes Yes
Languages Available in 70 languages Available in 29 languages
Number of employees 6,818 (as of March 2014) 3,000 (as of 2014)
Reblog posts Yes Yes
Follow trending topics No Yes
Written in C++, PHP, D JavaScript, Ruby, Scala, Java
Add friends Yes No
Follow people Yes Yes
Privacy settings Yes Either public or private
Current estimated value $104 billion $10 billion
Revenue $7.87 billion (2013) $664 million (2013)
Post length Unlimited 140 characters
Industry Internet, Social Networking, Smartphone App Internet
Edit posts Yes No
Users express opinions about content by "Comment" or "Reply" "Reply"
Mention users by Just the name (e.g. "User") The @ sign and then the name (e.g. "@user")
Facebook vs Twitter connections
Facebook vs Twitter connections


Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg, along with his college roommates, in February 2005. It was initially only intended for Harvard students, but eventually expanded to include students at other Boston colleges, Ivy League universities, and Stanford. The site gradually added support for other universities, before also becoming available to high school students. In September 2006, it became available to any users over 13. On May 17th 2012, the company went public. It was valued at $104 billion. Facebook’s user base is still growing rapidly. A chart showing its growth can be found here:

Twitter was founded on March 21st 2006 by Jack Dorsey and was launched on July 5th 2006. Twitter tends to be fairly secretive about its number of users, but it had explosive growth between 2009 and 2011, with 2 million tweets a day in January 2009, 32 million tweets a day in January 2010, 90 million tweets a day in September 2010 and 200 million tweets a day in July 2011.

Growth in worldwide user base for Twitter vs. Facebook. (numbers are in millions and include bot accounts).
Growth in worldwide user base for Twitter vs. Facebook. (numbers are in millions and include bot accounts).


Facebook is used by members for a variety of purposes. It is mainly used by individuals who wish to stay connected with, or reconnect with, people that they know offline. As well as maintaining a personal profile and posting messages on their “wall,” users can upload photo albums and videos, share links, write long notes, send private messages to friends, text and video chat, and play games.

Twitter allows users to post 140 character messages, or tweets, and follow the messages of other users on their Twitter feed. It is mainly used to communicate with other individuals with similar interests, regardless of whether users know one another off Twitter, and to follow updates from celebrities. Users can upload photos, share links and send private messages to people they follow.

The video below compares the pros and cons of Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Facebook allows users to select from various privacy settings, from a completely visible profile to one that is not even searchable except by acknowledged friends. Users can change the privacy setting on each individual post, from public, friends only, private, or “custom.”

Twitter has two privacy settings: public and private. Private messages can only be read by people that are followed by the user. Individual messages cannot have different privacy settings.

Terms of Service for Twitter and Facebook, as rated by ToS;DR.
Terms of Service for Twitter and Facebook, as rated by ToS;DR.


Facebook features ads. These adverts are often catered to the user, based on the preferences expressed in their profile. Facebook sells user info that has been uploaded to the profile to other corporations.

Twitter does not feature ads. Twitter may sell user information to other corporations.


Twitter and Facebook can be integrated. Tweets can be posted to Facebook automatically using the Twitter app.

Many other websites can be integrated with Facebook, including GoodReads and Wordpress. Facebook can also be integrated into other websites, and Facebook login details can be used to access some other sites.

Twitter widgets can be added to a website or blog and can be integrated with Instagram. Some websites allow users to sign in using Twitter.

Financial History

Facebook received a $500,000 angel investment from Peter Thiel in 2004. In April 2005, Accel Partners made a $12.7 million venture capital investment, after which Facebook was valued at $98 million. Facebook also received $27.5 million in funding from various investors in 2006, leading to a value of around $500 million. In 2007, Microsoft purchased a 1.6% share for $240 million, leading to a total implied value of $15 billion. Facebook is currently valued at $104 billion.

Twitter was originally developed by the podcasting company Odeo. It has raised over $155 million in venture capital since 2006. Its third round of funding, in February 2009, raised $35 million, while in October 2009 the private-equity firm Insight Venture Partners invested $100 million in the site. In 2011, Twitter was valued at around $10 billion.


Facebook has been involved in several controversies, particularly involving privacy concerns. Facebook prevented users from permanently deleting their accounts until 2010 and has been criticized for changing user’s privacy settings, making more information publically visible or available to data mining, without their explicit consent. The site has been repeatedly criticized for removing photos uploaded by breastfeeding mothers and deleting their accounts.

The company Twitter has not been involved in any major controversies itself, but the site has been the focus of several legal cases recently. In July 2012, a British teenager was arrested after sending abusive tweets to Olympic diver Tom Daley, and earlier in 2012, a student was jailed for inciting racial hatred after tweeting abuse at Fabrice Muamba.

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