Facebook has an image problem. Not only has it irked social media users who increasingly fret about privacy concerns. Many employers view it as a productivity killer, which makes keeping its users on the site for long stretches a challenge.
The solution: a secret project called Facebook At Work, which will offer a suite of features for workers including document collaboration, messaging and chat, and, of course, networking, according to the Financial Times. It would look and feel similar to the site’s current design, but would enable users to separate their personal and business activities. (Facebook declined to comment for the FT’s story.)
The move would put Facebook in direct competition with LinkedIn, the professional networking site with 172 million monthly active users globally (Facebook has 1.35 billion), not to mention other office productivity and collaboration tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and Slack.
Rebranding itself as a professional tool rather than a way to procrastinate might open the doors to more workplaces like Wall Street banks, which ban the service. American users currently spend an average of 40 minutes per day on the site. In theory office use would bump that dramatically, exposing users to more ads and Facebook to more revenue.
Neither how far along the project was nor its launch date were clear, according to the FT.