Facebook to launch a LinkedIn competitor?
Businesses may soon have a new platform for professional networking and enterprise collaboration, as the familiar social networking site, Facebook, plans to unveil Facebook at Work in the upcoming months.
Sources close to the company say that Facebook has been testing the product in its own operations, and a few other pilot companies are trying it out as well.
Facebook at Work will look and function similarly to regular old Facebook, with users creating a profile that gives them access to groups, messaging, and a news feed. Users will be able to network with professional colleagues in much the same manner that they connect with friends and family through their personal Facebook accounts.
However, to maintain user privacy, personal and work accounts will remain entirely separate. What’s more, Facebook at Work will go above and beyond simply networking to facilitate group discussions and document sharing, making it a potentially useful tool for workplace collaboration.
Why forge ahead in this direction?
Facebook’s move into new territory reflects an ongoing trend in the tech industry of competitive diversification, with companies expanding beyond their specialization to try to do what their rivals have already perfected. Some tech experts foresee that Facebook will struggle to stand apart from other enterprise collaboration platforms already well-established in workplaces.
Furthermore, Facebook’s sometimes controversial stance on privacy issues and data sharing may cause companies to mistrust whether Facebook at Work can provide the security needed to share internal documents and discussions online. At this time, Facebook has not publicly commented on its plans, and it is unknown whether or not Facebook at Work will be a free service and how it will incorporate advertisers.
Despite the skepticism, Facebook at Work may appeal to users who are already so familiar with the parent site, creating a very quick learning curve for businesses who want to encourage online workplace collaboration.