Will Facebook at Work actually work? The social media platform has been blocked by IT departments across the UK because they fear it kills productivity but Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t giving up there. In fact, he’s determined that Facebook has a role in the enterprise.
Specifically, he believes “Facebook at Work” – launched in app stores this week but only available to a set number of undisclosed trial partners – can provide another way for employees to communicate and collaborate beyond email and other intranet systems.
But one of the main concerns companies have with Facebook is whether their valuable information is truly safe.
Nicholas Scholz, global product manager at software firm Novell, said: “This is the same site where members share everything and anything with 'Friends'. People of all ages leave privacy at the door when they sign in to Facebook.
“You can essentially equate Facebook to the party guy you want to hang out with on Friday night who's funny, popular and a bit crazy – but would you want to work with him?"
Alastair Mitchell, CEO of enterprise collaboration firm Huddle also claimed Facebook at Work wouldn't be suitable for the enterprise.
But Facebook claims information within Facebook at Work is kept “secure, confidential and completely separate” from personal Facebook profiles.
The move suggests that Facebook is not only looking to compete with professional social networks like LinkedIn, which recently announced plans to develop an app to help co-workers share information, but also collaboration and storage firms such as Yammer, Huddle and Dropbox. Enterprise software providers like Salesforce - with its Chatter - also have their own collaboration tools.
However, one of the social media giant’s biggest advantages is that 1.4 billion people already know what Facebook is and the majority of them have a reasonably good understanding of how its interface works.
IT departments may well hate the idea of Facebook being used across their organisation but it'll be hard for them to turn their backs on Facebook at Work if employees "Like" it.