My dear friend LinkedIn has some competition coming its way–that’s right, Facebook is developing a new platform designed to let people use the social networking site at work.
The new Facebook–dubbed FB@Work (Zuckerberg couldn’t think of something more clever?)–will allow co-workers to chat, network with other professionals in their field, and work together on documents.
Many professionals already use Facebook at work, but now the company is actually testing the professional platform with companies, according to Reuters. FB@Work would be a completely separate site from the social networking site. Its main competitors include LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft, Box, and Salesforce.com
Zuckerberg’s move to create a professional networking platform gives Facebook a new edge. The tech industry is in a high-speed capability race and this new platform gives Facebook a one-up.
FB@Work’s chat tool can compete with Salesforce.com’s Chatter, Google’s Gchat, and Microsoft’s Yammer. Networking with professionals on FB@Work compares to the entire platform of LinkedIn. Lastly, providing co-workers with a space to collaborate on documents challenges Google Docs, Box, and Dropbox.
All of these features will not only be more attractive for users, but also for advertisers. The Financial Times reports the professional website will provide users with accounts separate from the social Facebook, so marketers have more space to place ads. The separate accounts would function to keep certain information private from certain audiences.
Some features will look similar; the News Feed will still be a staple of the site. The terms of confidentiality are still in question.
With FB@Work, you may portray your Facebooking habits in a more positive light at work. However, the new platform is designed to foster a more-efficient Facebook that will overall increase productivity and connectivity in the workplace.
Would you use FB@Work? Personally, I wouldn’t want to have an additional distraction. Google and LinkedIn already provide all the services I need–chat, room to collaborate on documents, discussion boards, and networking space. Creating another account means worrying about another password to remember and another networking site to keep up with. Honestly, I think Facebook is just trying to remain relevant with this new platform.
In the past, Facebook has tried to compete with other sites and networking platforms. Do you remember the Beacon fiasco? Beacon was part of Facebook’s Ads platform, but users were infuriated when the truth about Beacon’s tracking mechanisms came out. Beacon tracked users’ online activity on third-party sites–even when they were logged out or opted not to broadcast their activity to their networks.
This controversy, which occurred in 2007, was not a lone incident in Facebook’s spotty history with privacy leaks. In 2011, a similar privacy breach occurred when three applications were reported to provide users’ personal information to third-party sites. Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m hesitant to join the movement for FB@Work. Though the site is still in its development phase, I don’t trust that the social account and the professional account of Facebook will be kept completely separate nor will it be entirely secure. Until this site is fully developed and used by many early adopters, you can find me on LinkedIn.
Natasha Paulmeno is an aspiring PR professional studying at the University of Maryland. She is learning to speak Spanish fluently through travel, music, and school. In her spare time she enjoys Bachata music, playing with her dog, and exploring social media trends. Contact Natasha at staff@LawStreetMedia.com.