Facebook at Work: Can Facebook blur lines between employees and customers?

Facebook Inc is secretly working on a new website called "Facebook at Work" that would allow users to keep their personal profile separate from their work profile, the Financial Times reported.

The new website that will look very much like Facebook will compete with professional social network LinkedIn Corp, Google Inc, and Microsoft Corp, the newspaper said.

Facebook's new site will allow users to chat with colleagues, connect with professional contacts and collaborate over documents, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.

Facebook was not available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

Facebook employees have long used the site in their daily work and the social networking site is now testing it with companies, the newspaper said.

Commenting on this development, Forrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz said, "At first blush, it seems that Facebook is following the lead of Google and moving from a pure consumer play into the enterprise. We really don't know how far they intend to go. Google took their productivity applications and email into the enterprise to compete with Microsoft in an established multi-billion dollar market. If Facebook takes their current capabilities into the enterprise they could compete with enterprise social offerings like Yammer, SFDC Chatter and IBM Connections and some extent chat offerings like Lync or Cisco Jabber."

"Facebook certainly has a familiar user experience that people love, and could blur the lines between employees and customers in a very compelling way. They have the ability to drive enterprises toward new levels of customer activation. It's not clear how far they would want go with an offering like this. To fully compete in the enterprise requires deep and complex capabilities that aren't required in a consumer offering. It can also be a tough, low margin business where cost of sales can be high."

With inputs from Reuters

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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2014 13:03:17 IST