Facebook to challenge LinkedIn’s crown

facebook vs linkedinLinkedIn is one of the ‘grandparents’ of the social media revolution. It has survived technological challenges, changes in demographics and lots of attempts from other business networks hoping to take its crown.

If you look at LinkedIn today, you see a publicly traded company with thousands of employees across the world, and the dominant site for online business networking. The figures are impressive:

  • Over 330 million users, with 2 new users added every second
  • Over 185 million unique visitors visit LinkedIn every month
  • Available in 20 different languages across 200 countries
  • 40% of users check LinkedIn every day

There are many reasons why people use LinkedIn and which have therefore contributed to the network’s success within the business world – most of them focus on increasing a user’s visibility, credibility and professionalism in order to attract new clients or new interests. It’s also one of the key tools for those on the hunt for a new job or for recruiting HR departments looking for ideal candidates.

Facebook at Work

But LinkedIn is about to be challenged in a serious way. Recently reported by the Financial Times, it seems LinkedIn’s crown could be in danger of being taken by that other social media giant, Facebook. The FT says that a new website called ‘Facebook at Work’ is being worked on in secret – and the new platform will be a way of allowing current Facebook users to keep their personal profile separate from their work one.

Rumours are that Facebook at Work will look very much like its social counterpart, Facebook, and is designed to not only compete with LinkedIn but with Google’ drive, email and chat products as well as Microsoft’s Outlook, Office and Yammer (the business social network it bought it in 2012).

So what will you be able to do on this new site? The idea is that you can chat with colleagues, connect with professional contacts, share tips within groups and collaborate over documents. Very much like LinkedIn then, except that as this has the weight and promotional power of Facebook behind it, it won’t be easily shaken off.

Those who work at Facebook have been using the site internally for some time. Over the past year, other companies have been testing the site and so it is thought that a launch could be just around the corner.

Gaining trust

If Facebook want to win users at work as well as at home, they’ll need to gain the trust of organisations, as confidential conversations and important information will be conducted and shared on the site. Its privacy settings have come under fire in recent months, prompting Facebook chief, Mark Zuckerberg, to change the default to a more private setting. Encrypted data also been rolled out on Facebook following the Wiki-Leaks and Edward Snowden scandals of the past couple of years.

Facebook at Work is likely to be a free service, at least at the start. Many organisations have banned employees from browsing the social site during office hours. But with a new free corporate version available, Facebook will be looking to encourage people to use it during work time. This will in turn allow for more opportunities for exposure to advertising, as this is where the majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from.

We’ll be interested to see what happens next – watch this space!