Social Media: Facebook Working on LinkedIn Competitor?

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Facebook could be set to launch a career-focussed social network to rival LinkedIn, according to a story from The Independent.

'Facebook at Work' will allow users to collaborate on documents and communicate with colleagues and work connections, the paper reported today.

LinkedIn is the current leader in career-focussed social networks, and has seen little disturbance from competition in its niche. However, with Facebook's vast user base (The Independent quotes 1.35 billion active users), the social network could be in a position to challenge LinkedIn's dominance of the corporate social sector.

But the impetus for Facebook's ambitions appears to be user retention, rather than competition. The Independent reports: "[Facebook] is said to be building the network in the hope that employers will allow 'Facebook at Work' [...] as many block or discourage workers from accessing the site during business hours."

Users are also likely to welcome the notion of having a professional Facebook 'identity', separate from their out-of-work profile. As the Financial Times wrote (quoted by The Independent): "The new site will look very much like Facebook [...] but will allow users to keep their personal profile with its holiday photos, political rants and silly videos separate from their work identity."

Some might say this is overdue. For years, news reports have been peppered with reports of workers losing jobs thanks to Facebook rants. A recent article by Time magazine collected not one, but ten of these 'Facebook firings'.

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