Facebook to launch At Work version
The days of secretly checking Facebook while at work could be coming to an end thanks to a new professional version of the social network.
The California-based firm has just announced Facebook At Work, a version of the site that offers an alternative way for employees to communicate internally, which they say could be used as an alternative to email and intranet systems.
A statement from the technology giant said: "Facebook At Work lets you create a work account that is separate from your personal Facebook account. With a Facebook At Work account, you can use Facebook tools to interact with co-workers. Things you share using your work account will only be visible to other people at your company."
The new service will be seen as a direct competitor to networking service LinkedIn, which launched in 2003 and has more than 60 million monthly users.
"Your work account is only visible to people at your company and is separate from your personal account. From your work account, you can still access things that are shared publicly on Facebook.
"When you set up your work account, you'll be able to connect it to your personal account. This lets you switch between the two accounts while using the same username and password for both. Your username and password aren't shared with your employer."
Facebook also suggested that, because most people are already familiar with how the site works, companies could save money and hours on training. The site is currently accessed by more than 1.4 billion people each month. The new service will also work from within the firm's mobile apps.
Facebook At Work will also likely be seen as a challenger for other work-driven social apps such as Yammer, which was bought by Microsoft back in 2012, and is said to be used by more than 200,000 companies around the world.
Facebook At Work is free to use, but is currently limited to an unspecified group of companies which are trialling the service. Others users can sign up for more information, with Facebook saying it will be released to the wider public in the future.
The social media site has been branching into new areas in recent times, buying virtual reality firm Oculus last year, as well as announcing plans to use its Internet.org group to attempt to bring WiFi to the entire planet using high-flying drones.