The war begins; Facebook has announced their plan to launch a new version of the social network. “Facebook at Work” will be aimed at professionals in the workplace looking to build connections with like-minded individuals. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Many businesses already encourage their employees to create a profile on LinkedIn to do just that, as well as it being a great place for professionals looking to showcase their skills. With 1.35 billion people already using Facebook and LinkedIn claiming to have over 2.25 billion members, will this new “Facebook at Work” platform take off?

Facebook as a Networking Tool

On average, people spend a total of 9 hours per day engaging with digital devices such as computers, TV and mobile. However, only 40 minutes of this time is spent using Facebook. For a lot of business, Facebook use during working hours is banned in order to prevent distraction from work. However, integrating the ability to professionally network will give Facebook the ability to generate more users and increase the average time spent on the site. Despite this, Facebook will then be competing with LinkedIn, a networking site designed and used specifically by business people.

What about privacy?

Everyone’s heard the nightmare stories about the office Christmas party pics venturing onto Facebook. It’s not surprising that numerous consumers are nervous about privacy when information could be accidentally shared from a personal wall to a business listing.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, assures users that personal and professional contacts, details, photos and other media will be kept separate. However, there may still be a way to go to convince users that the site is a good place to have both their personal and professional information.

The nature of Facebook as it is currently, allows people to easily share a huge amount of personal information about themselves including their relationships, health, location and physical appearance. The issue that employers may find with this is how easy it could be for employees to share private business data.

Rivalry with LinkedIn

LinkedIn has grown worldwide since its launch in 2003, specialising in connecting business individuals, sharing blogs and useful information as well as other content. Facebook’s new “Facebook at Work” will be its primary rival, which will either pose a threat to the niche market that it targets, or Facebook’s latest release will be no match for LinkedIn.

Until now, Zuckerberg suggests, targeting the 9-5 workplace audience would not have been worth it, but now it is growing in popularity and being used as a tool by many professionals for networking and even recruitment. Many have predicted the end for LinkedIn due to Facebook’s huge user-base, and generated loyalty from regular users.

The result of Facebook’s new branch has yet to be seen. What do you think will happen? Comment below with your thoughts.

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