Facebook might take on business-centric social networks with FB@Work

Facebook and workplace productivity have never really gone hand-in-hand. It’s even been estimated that the time US employees spend poking around on the social network is responsible for $28 billion in lost productivity. But now there are rumors that Facebook possibly wants to change this dynamic by creating a new platform that would let companies utilize Facebook for work. According to TechCrunch, an anonymous source at Facebook says the company is working on a product referred to as FB@Work, which could be Facebook’s attempt to take on business-centric social networks like LinkedIn and Yammer. “We are making work more fun and efficient by building an at-work version of Facebook,” the source told TechCrunch. “We will touch code throughout the stack and on all platforms.”

The phrase “Facebook at work” usually suggests people frittering away the day on the social network and not actually doing their jobs. But according to an anonymous source inside Facebook, the company is working on a way to put the social network into a more positive light in the office. It is building an at-work version of Facebook. “We are making work more fun and efficient by building an at-work version of Facebook,” the source says. “We will touch code throughout the stack and on all platforms (web, iOS, Android, etc.).” The source, who refers it as “FB@Work”, says the effort is based in London. What’s not clear is whether FB@Work is something being built as an internal enterprise communication platform, or whether there are ambitions to leverage Facebook to drive new business, by giving people a way to interface with the hundreds of millions of people who already use it to market their businesses and themselves — along the lines of LinkedIn. A spokesperson for Facebook says the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation and has “nothing to add at this point.” Using Facebook for internal communications already exists on a less formal basis. “Everyone at Facebook uses Facebook for work,” one ex-Facebook employee tells us. “Most of their communication and planning is done though Messages and Groups. It would be a pretty natural thing to try to expose this way of using Facebook to get things done at the office to the rest of the world. It’s a really fast and efficient way to get things done.”

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