Maybe You Should Be on Facebook While You're at Work

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 26 2014 5:10 PM

Maybe You Should Be on Facebook While You're at Work

Someday getting caught on Facebook while at work could be a good thing.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

If you've ever sneaked onto Facebook at work, it might be strange to think that the social network could be a legitimate part of your professional life. But a report from TechCrunch indicates that that's exactly what's next. Except this version of Facebook won't be so distracting.

Lily Hay Newman Lily Hay Newman

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TechCrunch spoke to a source inside Facebook who said, “We are making work more fun and efficient by building an at-work version of Facebook.” The project is apparently called “FB@Work,” and the source says it's being developed out of Facebook London. TechCrunch cites a 2012 Quora question and answer as evidence of this, because it was written by a Facebook employee who now works in London, and describes Facebook's use of its own services for overall internal organization, team planning, and widespread employee communication.


Other anonymous Facebook employees and engineers who had recently left seem to confirm the rumor, or report hearing similar ones. The part that's unclear is whether FB@Work would be a separate enterprise service, or some type of add-on/parallel experience to normal Facebook. A separate product might have the drawbacks of services like Yammer, which are easy to use, but can be hard to add into workflows unless a company is really committed to making them an information hub.

Another option would be for Facebook to essentially become a LinkedIn competitor with added functions like chat and groups. Since so many people already check Facebook multiple times a day, it might be possible to integrate some type of separate but conveniently located work tab or mode. If it was easy to switch back and forth, people might actually check a work Facebook and post things to it. Facebook already has a lot of professional information from its users, many of whom list their education and post their current job plus some or all of their employment history. And creating a work platform would only allow Facebook to collect more valuable data for more narrowly targeted ads.

A major obstacle would be keeping people's personal and professional data separate. People are already wary of posting things on Facebook that could negatively affect them at work or even get them fired. Using Facebook at work and home could get confusing or lead to dangerous crossovers. Presumably Facebook would try to address this concern and use FB@Work to combat Facebook's casual reputation, but it would be difficult to overcome.

Facebook that's work-approved does sound pretty tempting, though.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 21 2014 1:36 PM Single Quotes or Double Quotes? It's Really Quite Simple.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller's Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Doctor, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.