I would guess that Twitter is better for the environment (energy-efficiency-wise) since it is designed better for use through mobile phones. Since Facebook has more active users (500 million compared to Twitter’s 180 million or so), it requires greater computer use for maintenance and sees more computers being turned on to check Facebook. 37% of those who tweet do so from their cell phones, which use less energy than running a desktop. While Facebook does have mobile functions, a smaller percentage of its user base uses them. But, we also need to consider how much of each company’s energy comes from renewable sources.
Facebook has been criticized by Greenpeace for using coal energy to power its systems, which it still uses, though campaigns and petitions have circulated to urge Facebook to stop relying on coal. Greenpeace launched an “Unfriend Coal” campaign in 2010 and has pressured Facebook to eliminate their use of coal by Earth Day 2011. Facebook recently announced an Open Compute plan, designed to reduce energy consumption and make Facebook a leader in green energy in the internet industry. The company’s engineers have designed a 38% more efficient server farm that would cut costs by 28% and wouldn’t hurt business.
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