Facebook's next stop: its own professional network

Steven Loeb · November 17, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3a6f

Facebook At Work would be a separate site, dedicated to workplace collaboration

Everyone keeps waiting for Facebook to fall from its position as the number one social network, and now even the company itself seems to be buying into that as well. That is how I am trying to explain why it has recently gotten into the habit of ripping off its competitors.

It has tried to emulate Snapchat, even going to far as to release two different apps that, essentially, copied Snapchat's features and style. It then got into anonymity in order to emulate apps like Whisper and Secret. 

Now it has a new target: LinkedIn, by developing  its own professional network called "Facebook At Work," according to a report in the Financial Times on Sunday.

What the site does is, essentially, create a work profile, separate from their personal one. They would use it to talk to their colleagues, connect with professional contacts, and collaborate on projects. The site will apparently look, and feel, exactly like the original Facebook.

That part about workplace collaboration is especially interesting since it gets into some new territory for Facebook, putting into competition with services like Google Drive. Without it, the idea for a specific site dedicated to work-related profiles is kind of useless. Rhere has been nothing stopping people from creating two profiles,  with one simply created to be used speficially for professional purposes. If someone wanted that, the option was already there.

But if Facebook is giving tools specifically designed toward helping out in a workplace environment, then this could actually turn into a more useful tool, and one that I could see people using.

Of course, it would also require a bit of a change from the typical office, in which Facebook useage is at least frowned upon. In my last job, before I came to work for Vator, my boss started getting really angry about people using Facebook too much, and even threatened to block the site if he continued to see people using it while they were supposed to be working.

This new site would seek to change that, but I can still imagine some bosses being a bit weary of opening up what could be Pandora's box.

One place that Facebook is obviously not banned is, of course, Facebook. (It would be pretty freaking hilarious if it was!) And apparently employees at the company have been using Facebook At Work for a long time. It is now being tested with companies as its launch approaches, according to the Financial Times.

If Facebook does go ahead with the idea, it will be interesting to see what it does to LinkedIn. For many, there has always been a clear separation between the two networks. I have sometimes looked up people who I have had dealings with in a professional capacity, and I have immeditaely felt like I was violating their privacy somehow, by seeing their college photos and what they liked.

LinkedIn has been trying to create more original content on the site, in order to get people to stay longer and have a reason to visit. But, tell me honestly, how often do you check it? I only go on there to confirm people who have connected with me. I would imagine that a Facebook workplace tool would have a lot more going on, and could take even more minutes away from LinkedIn.

VatorNews has reached out to Facebook for comment on this report. We will update if we learn more. 

(Image source: intuic.com)

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