Facebook at Work, a Recipe for Disaster

by Matt Klassen on January 23, 2015

I doubt I’m exaggerating when I say that Facebook is likely the most used piece of software across the entire business world, a wonderful piece of time-wasting banality that has already cost companies so much in lost revenue by hampering employee productivity that many businesses are employing draconian anti-Facebook rules to curb its negative influence. With such a warm relationship already existing between the social network and the enterprise world, perhaps it makes perfect sense that Facebook is attempting to infiltrate the business world by creating a new enterprise oriented version of its social network, Facebook at Work.

Facebook at Work will mirror the regular version of the social network in appearance and functionality, featuring news feeds, profiles, messaging, and groups that Facebook hopes will eventually replace current inter-office email and messaging systems. The benefit of Facebook at Work is, of course, that we all know how to use it already (well, sort of), which could conceivably help companies save money on training and implementation costs.

But given that Facebook plays such a disruptive role in our lives and more often than not gives us a forum for social awkwardness instead of social networking, it seems a manifestly horrible idea that Facebook should be allowed in the workplace under the guise of being a helpful productivity tool. I mean, with a service that is plagued by privacy issues, handles user data like a commodity, cares nothing for security, and provides a platform for users to say things to others they never would in real life, what could possibly go wrong? 

While Facebook at Work does look and feel much like its standard social networking counterpart, the difference is that this business-oriented platform operates as a closed ecosystem, an inter-office social network that is designed and customized specifically for your particular workplace. The new Work platform will reportedly not track user data (generating revenue through a subscription-based model) and will not feature advertisements, but otherwise will allow your employees to connect with each other as they would on the regular version of Facebook…like a bunch of immature teenagers.

“Facebook at Work is a separate experience that gives employees the ability to connect and collaborate efficiently using Facebook tools – many that they’re likely already using such as News Feed, Groups, messages and events,” the social network said in a statement.

“The information shared among employees is only accessible to people in the company.”

A spokeswoman added: “Internally at Facebook we’ve been using our product for years, and we’re now looking forward to the feedback from our pilot partners to create the best possible experience.”

The news that Facebook is delving into the enterprise sector really comes as no surprise, as other business communication platforms like Yammer and Slack have already made significant inroads by delivering communication platforms that have distinctly Facebook feels to them. It makes sense, therefore, for the original social network to want to compete in this space as well.

Now granted businesses can nary afford to avoid Facebook, as the social network provides such a grandiose advertising soapbox that it has become integral to any modern marketing campaign. But using Facebook is one thing, inviting the network into the workplace as an essential communication tool is something quite different. Given the confusing nature of the network, the lack of true privacy credentials, and the fact that it turns otherwise sound thinking adults into cliquey, immature teenagers it just seems like a recipe for disaster to trust Facebook with your inter-office communication…heck, I barely want to trust it with my pointless status updates.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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