Facebook testing corporate social network version

Social network giant Facebook Inc. is testing a version for companies – Facebook at Work – where employees and entrepreneurs can communicate and collaborate in a work environment. The application uses tools from Salesforce.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., a person familiar with the matter said.

Facebook is believed to be carrying out a trial with several companies, and will probably launch the new product within the next few months, says the Daily Herald, which quoted a person who asked not to be named.

With Facebook at Work, employees can communicate with one another through the social network’s current tools, using messaging and newsfeeds, without mixing up personal and professional posts.

The new service, which currently has no advertising displayed, will be rolled out free of charge initially.

When Facebook at Work comes out, current social media suppliers such as Microsoft (Yammer), Salesforce.com (Chatter), and IBM (Connections) are likely to suffer the fiercest competition for market share ever.

Facebook at Work

How can Facebook stop employees from switching from work to personal mode?

For the product to succeed, it will need relevant and helpful software for the business environment. Facebook’s huge advantage is that most people already know how to use its existing social media application.

Facebook currently has more than 1.3 billion users. However, they only spend on average about 40 minutes per day using their application, which is much lower than other social services. Most companies block Facebook access at work. Facebook at Work could overcome that problem.

LinkedIn, which has become a new tool for employees and employers, has 300 million active users.

Facebook has some things going against it. A huge number of its users are under 18 and/or do not work. Companies may be put off because of its privacy and security problems. In order to succeed in the corporate world, it will need stringent parameters too prevent users from switching over to personal use while at work.

According to the Financial Times, LinkedIn Corp. shares fell -4.5% on the news, while those of Jive Software Inc. declined by -6.7%.