Should your company let Facebook run internal comms?
Whether you like it or not Facebook is everywhere. The social media giant is effectively painting a blue and white skin over the entire internet, and it seems Zuck & Co want to be a part of every aspect of our digital lives.
Now we have Workplace by Facebook – the replacement for the unloved Facebook for Work Platform that emerged in 2015. Many execs – including CIOs – hated it. This was largely due to privacy concerns and the potential for distraction. It seemed that upper management aren’t too keen on Facebook accessing their IP, nor are they interested in providing yet another way to distribute cat videos.
As such, Microsoft’s Yammer and its competing platform, Slack, manage to get a good share of the market. This was obviously frustrating to Facebook, who would have dearly loved to leverage the fact that they have some 1.7 billion users that are familiar with their platform and would requiring little training to use their its platform for in-house communications.
Another issue might be collaboration. Dropbox and Slack both allow for Microsoft Office documents to be shared and edited, and there is little reason to think that Facebook is as friendly with Microsoft products as the smaller players.
Facebook invited a number of Australian organisations to be part of an initial trial before the global launch on Tuesday 11 October. The response seems to be positive (according to the Australian Financial Review), however it is said that one user at Fairfax posted a picture of Big Brother from 1984 as a form of silent protest against the perceived invasion of privacy.
This will be the key barrier to participation – both for management and employees. Perceptions of time-wasting and a shoddy track record of transparency will be difficult to overcome. Interestingly, one of the ways that Facebook is countering these issues is by charging companies for the pleasure of using Workplace. By doing this, it can run ad-free and, so far, the standard data-scraping that makes billions for the regular social platform will be absent.
For now, anyway.