Facebook at Work set to do the business like LinkedIn, report says

Facebook at Work would keep your drunken updates and embarrassing selfies away from your colleagues and professional contacts.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is known for his signature hoodie -- but he could be after the suit-and-tie crowd. James Martin/CNET

For most of us, Facebook at work means scrolling through the pictures of your mate's birthday party and getting in a couple of rounds of Farmville when you're meant to be working on the Henderson presentation. But the world's biggest social network reportedly wants to make things more professional, taking on LinkedIn with Facebook at Work.

According to the Financial Times, Facebook is developing a new site that features a similar newsfeed and groups to the current friends and family-based social network, but enables you to collaborate with colleagues and keep in touch with professional contacts. Your personal Facebook feed -- including potentially embarrassing photos, drunken posts and other personal stuff -- would be kept separate.

Up to now, Facebook has been associated with personal use, so you can keep in touch with friends and family. Companies and individuals can create pages, but those are public-facing pages for communicating with customers rather than an internal service for workers and companies to work together. The best-known business network is LinkedIn, which allows individuals to post their employment history, connect with colleagues and industry contacts, and look for jobs.

Facebook currently has more than 1 billion users. LinkedIn has over 300 million users, of which more than 90m are active monthly users.

Facebook at Work is reported to enable you to collaborate with colleagues by giving several people access to a document so each person can edit and make changes. That also puts the service in competition with business and collaboration services in Google Drive and Microsoft Office, which has itself absorbed the business-focused social network Yammer.

With smartphone and social network use approaching saturation point in developed countries, tech companies are looking to expand into new frontiers such as developing markets or the world of business. For example, BlackBerry Balance and Samsung Knox keep work and personal content separate and secure on BlackBerry and Samsung mobile devices.

The business market is attractive to Facebook, Samsung and other companies because it opens the way to lucrative corporate contracts -- as long as they can convince IT departments that their networks or devices are secure enough to keep sensitive data safe.

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