Facebook says that the job-postings feature introduced in the US and Canada has been wildly popular—popular enough, at least, that the company is now expanding the listings to 40 more countries and effectively positioning itself as a competitor to LinkedIn.
The social network lets you browse jobs or search for postings at specific businesses. When you create an application, it’s automatically populated with the job history indicated on your Facebook profile—a résumé function similar to what LinkedIn offers. (This isn’t the first time Facebook has adopted features that proved popular elsewhere; it has borrowed plenty of ideas from Snapchat, Craigslist, and Yelp, for instance.)
Facebook is betting big on business-related products and programs, investing $1 billion in this area since 2011. The company is particularly interested in working with small businesses, which are valuable for the company’s advertising operation.
With 2 billion users, compared to LinkedIn’s user base of 500 million, Facebook has a lot of room to grow. So does LinkedIn, which was purchased by the deep-pocketed Microsoft in 2016. But it’s possible Facebook will target a somewhat different user base than LinkedIn; as Tech Crunch points out, the casualness and efficiency of the platform, which allows users to schedule interviews via Facebook Messenger, seems well-suited to listings for low-skill jobs in retail or food service, where potential applicants wouldn’t necessarily have the type of polished resume that shines on a site like LinkedIn.
Facebook’s foray into job recruitment has not avoided controversy. As with other ads, employers can target a specific audience for a job posting. An investigation from ProPublica and The New York Times showed that recruitment ads that big companies posted on the platform were geared only toward younger demographics, raising questions about whether this constituted employment discrimination.
Facebook says that a representative survey of 5,000 Americans, conducted by Morning Consult, indicated that one in four US adults already have searched for or found a job on Facebook—a number that sounds improbably high, considering that according to the Pew Research Center, only about 68% of American adults use Facebook.