Back To Career News

Facebook at Work: The LinkedIn Killer?


It’s hard to keep a secret in the online world. Ask any Facebook user who’s ever forgotten to check those privacy settings before posting pictures of the holiday party. Or better yet, ask the social networking giant itself. Its latest project, Facebook at Work, in development for a year, was a secret before The Financial Times spilled the beans this weekend. Here’s what we know so far.


(Photo Credit: melenita2012/Flickr)

Facebook at Work is expected to look a lot like regular Facebook, but include collaborative features like document sharing and professional networking features like chatting with colleagues and contacts. Users will be able to maintain separate personal and professional profiles, which would presumably make it easier to avoid the more embarrassing pitfalls of social media use, while still using its networking potential.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

If it takes off, the new Facebook could be bad news not only for gold-standard professional social network LinkedIn, but for Google Drive and Microsoft Office. Facebook currently has over 1 billion users, while LinkedIn has 300 million users, 90 million of whom are active on a monthly basis.

Of course, in order to pose a serious threat to LinkedIn, Google, or Microsoft, Facebook will have to overcome a few major hurdles.

“…many employers ban its social network at the workplace due to concerns about lost productivity,” writes Geoffrey Smith at Fortune. “It will also have to persuade corporate customers that it can be trusted with their data, after a series of damaging revelations about its policy towards user data in the past. And it will have to assuage concerns about polluting feeds with ads and other tools aimed at monetizing the service. “

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg characterized changes to the company’s privacy policy as an “important cultural shift” for Facebook. Currently, privacy settings default to more secure levels and require opt-ins for features that allow the service to track users’ locations or activate their smartphone’s microphone. The company also rolled out a privacy check-up feature that allows users to see how they’re sharing information.

Still, Facebook’s past issues with privacy might make some companies think twice about using their product as a collaboration and networking tool at the office. At ZDNet, Charlie Osborne reminds us of an experiment earlier this year, in which Facebook manipulated users’ newsfeeds in order to test the extent to which “emotional contagion” could be controlled.

“This isn’t to say Facebook didn’t learn its lesson, following an explosion of outrage and censure levied at the company when the research came to light,” she writes. “It also does not mean that Facebook will conduct similar experiments in the future on the business community. However, it does reveal an unethical side of the company that corporations may shy away from in self defense — as you don’t sign deals with untrustworthy partners.”

Tell Us What You Think

Would your company allow you to access a professional version of Facebook during working hours? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

Notify of
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.