Facebook Gets Twitter-y

Facebook Inc. has announced a new publishing tool that will automatically export information posted on your Facebook Page to your Twitter account. The Twitter exporter tool will be available to Facebook Page administrators over the next few days, according to news release issued by Facebook late last week.

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"Twitter was a natural next step to link to Facebook Pages because it's a powerful tool for broadcasting short message widely. Posts from Facebook Pages are already public to everyone on Facebook and, with this feature, now will be public to everyone on Twitter," states the Facebook release.

The Twitter exporter tool is designed for Facebook Pages, as opposed to pages within personal Facebook profiles. Facebook has not indicated whether a similar tool will become available for personal Facebook accounts.

Facebook Pages are generally used to promote businesses, organizations and public figures. The new tool is already being used by The World Wildlife Fund, The Lance Armstrong Foundation's Livestrong page, actor-comedian Dane Cook, the NBA and the WNBA.

Those administrating Facebook Pages will have the option of selecting which types of information -- status updates, links, photos, notes or events -- they want to share with their corresponding Twittter account.

"Facebook Page administrators will be able to turn off the application for their page anytime they choose," states Facebook.

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The Twitter exporter tool was developed by Stanford University undergraduate student Michael Gummelt during a summer engineering internship.

The tool, which exports information immediately, solves a couple issues.

If you are torn over where to turn first -- Facebook or Twitter -- when posting the latest news about your organization or yourself, using this tool means you can release the news to all your fans and followers at the same time.

If you are simply tired of having to go through the process of posting content on your Facebook page, only to repeat the whole process on Twitter, using this tool means you only have to post it once.

Tim Hickernell, lead analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., expects the tool will be "very popular" with typical organizational communications, PR, marketing and customer service groups.

Businesses should analyze the potential security risks and privacy issues when considering cross-posting among any social media services, Hickernell advised. "If membership is any single service carries with it certain privacy expectations, then cross-posting some information to a public service like Twitter may create privacy issues," he said.

"For example, if the organization uses the page's wall to directly address specific fans by name or handle, then cross-posting that to a public Twitter account may violate the fan's expectation of privacy when they became a fan of the FB page," said Hickernell.

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