Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Facebook at Work: A Good Idea?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Facebook at Work: A Good Idea?

Article excerpt

Logging into Facebook at work may not only become less taboo, but also become an important means of workplace communication.

On Wednesday, Facebook launched its first iteration of Work to a small group of users to test the app before its public launch, tentatively taking place later this year. The site looks like Facebook and acts like Facebook, minus the ads and user data tracking. Will this new platform aid in corporate connectivity or harm employees' productivity?

With the newness of the product, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. The company has yet to work out a price point; currently, no ads are gaining revenue, which means it may plan to revert to a subscription revenue model. It also does not support any in-app documents, such as those provided by Google Docs. And with studies showing Facebook may know you better than some of your closest friends and family, early critics wonder if it is really a platform trustworthy for sharing trade secrets and confidential documents.

Lars Rasmussen, the engineering director of Facebook, is confident in the app's future success. Facebook's own employees have been using Work for the past decade to collaborate, plan meetings, share documents, and communicate news across the company. Rasmussen feels that the public's familiarity with Facebook--a feature similarly purposed apps lack--will help push the app to the next level, and that it comes at a time when people are craving new ways to stay connected and engaged in the workplace.

"I can say that the challenges of making work more efficient is something that has been on my mind for a long time, and I come to it with a lot of passion and the knowledge of a failure of doing this at a different company," Rasmussen said, referring to the time he spent working on Google Wave. With a lot of experience under his belt, Rasmussen thinks the positive effects of Facebook will compliment work in a professional environment.

Studies have shown that using Facebook at work may not be a bad thing, and in fact may increase productivity. …

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