Are Twitter Psychic

The obvious answer to this is course  no however I did wonder for a while.

I recently signed up to Twitter (begrudgingly) and after a while I started to find people I really knew being suggested as people in my “Who To Follow” list.

This got me thinking, I have been very specific with the information that I have posted on Twitter. I have also been very specific with who I follow. None of my posts relate or are similar subjects to tweets by other people I know, nor do any of the people I follow (or follow me) have any relation to the people I know out in the real world. This of course got me somewhat confused as to how Twitter knew I had a link to these people.

While thinking about how Twitter may know information about me I of course checked in my profile to find out what I supplied them. All I found that I had supplied them with are as follows:

  • Name
  • Username
  • Email
  • Language

Now the name I supplied is not actually my name more of an alias that has no bearing with anything else I do. The language is set to English so no great information gained from this. My username is unique. I have never used this term online before nor have I used it as a username anywhere else.

Now this of course only leaves my Email address. Now this is not unique. This address is something I use in numerous places. 1 place that I do use this on is of course Facebook. Now I have never used any Twitter apps on Facebook so I certainly did not give them information on what my account is.

On checking how Facebook works I found that if you are searching for someone by Email address you can use the following URL to search for someone:

http://www.facebook.com/search.php?q=YourName%40YourDomain.com (%40 is @ in html)

Now if you are not logged into Facebook you can see the user who this relates too and you can then continue into the profile. If the profile does not have high security you can see some of the friends in their friends list. Now if you are logged in and have your profile set like I do you can see everyone in the friends list for the profile you are looking at.

Now all this of course leads me to 1 conclusion. Twitter either use the Facebook API or they have a Facebook account that they use to link people with their friends and correlate this information with people who also have Twitter accounts. If they both have accounts you will sometimes see this person in the “Who To Follow” list.

Yet another great reason to lock down your Facebook security settings.

As usual this is another example of convenience over privacy.

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