‘Facebook at Work’ Looks to Take Over Office Communications

facebook at workIn a bid to further expand its influence, Facebook is working on a secret project with the goal of infiltrating your office. According to a Financial Times report, the new website, "Facebook at Work," will put familiar Facebook functionality such as messages, groups and the News Feed to use for enterprises, helping employees collaborate better.

But before it can compete with Google (whose Docs app, among other programs, is increasingly popular at large businesses), Microsoft (which owns Yammer, one of the biggest corporate communications platforms), and LinkedIn (which has 90 million active monthly users), Facebook at Work will have a host of problems to overcome.

Many workplaces ban Facebook, as employers worry that their employees will fritter away time at work checking their personal messages, wandering aimlessly through photo albums, tending their farms or engaging in a host of other arguably useless tasks. Facebook at Work will have to overcome the widespread bias against the company as a time-waster.

Privacy expectations will undoubtedly be sky high for the crossover platform. The FT report explains that Facebook at Work accounts will be separate from personal accounts, establishing a divide between personal and professional information. Still, with a platform known more for ruining professional careers rather than helping them, Facebook power users—the ones who blow up your News Feed with political rants and unseemly pictures from the weekend—may be hesitant to adopt the enterprise version of the platform.

For professional communicators, Facebook at Work will present yet another way to connect with colleagues while also spawning new internal crisis scenarios that will need to be grappled with in time.

Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene