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Facebook has become the most popular social media outlet in the world, but in the eyes of corporate offices, it can be an immense time waster and productivity killer. However, it can be an incredibly efficient tool for connecting with other professionals, sort of like a pseudo-LinkedIn. To counter this stigma associated with social media in the workplace, Facebook has produced Facebook at Work.
Facebook at Work essentially allows you to communicate with your coworkers while in the office by utilizing a Facebook-like environment. This includes chat and sharing to walls, among other features. Facebook emphasizes that anything shared amongst your company is only visible to other users in your company, and not to the public. According to Larry Dignan of ZDNet, there are a number of reasons why this expansion makes sense, including:
- Engagement during the workday is important for Facebook’s business.
- Without work engagement, Facebook might lose users as they grow older and move into the professional world.
- A professional version of Facebook might convince enterprises to unblock the social network.
It’s understandable why Facebook would want to try for a more professional approach, but unfortunately, some folks aren’t so convinced that Facebook would be suitable for the work environment. It seems most respondents are concerned about Facebook’s tendency to collect information and personal data from its users, and see this as a breach of corporate policy concerning sensitive data and private documents.
In another ZDNet article, Charlie Osborne explains why Facebook at Work’s success is unlikely. The reason is precisely due to businesses taking an extremely protective stance on their data security. What’s more is that Facebook has gained a reputation for its concerning use of consumer data. Remember the time that Facebook used its prevalence to control and experiment on the feelings of nearly 700,000 users? The idea was to examine whether or not emotions could be controlled or altered through the use of rigged news feeds. The social media giant was ridiculed by the masses saying that the project was unethical. Who’s to say that Facebook won’t do something similar with the information gathered by corporations using Facebook at Work?
Other concepts also come to mind, such as keeping the office life and home life separate. Is connecting something meant for socializing and networking really a good tool to integrate into the workplace? Some professionals are concerned that Facebook at Work, in addition to the growing Bring Your Own Device trend, will not only compromise security, but also desensitize the workforce to the dangers of the Internet and unprotected networks.
Businesses who decide to use Facebook at Work will wind up with expectations that the social network will respect and comply with their data security policies, but every business is different. What works for one business might not be an option for another. If Facebook fails to protect the data of these enterprises, it could have disastrous consequences for the social media juggernaut.
What are your thoughts on the concept of Facebook at Work? Are you willing to give it a try, or are you concerned about the security of your business’s data? Let us know in the comments.