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Facebook users ‘voyeuristic’ at work

Facebook users spend 88 percent of their time on the social networking site looking at other peoples profiles, raising concerns about loss of productivity in the workplace according to a new Palo Alto Networks’ report.

FacebookFacebook use in the workplace according to Palo Alto Networks’ Application Usage and Risk Report (October 2010) found that the bulk of the traffic (88%) is users looking at other Facebook users profiles. Businesses are concerned about the risk that this ‘voyeuristic’ behaviour represents, including a potential loss of productivity and the possibility of malware introduction by clicking on a link on someone’s Facebook “Wall.”

Comparatively, use of Facebook apps, (including popular games such as FarmVille) only represents 5 percent of Facebook traffic on corporate networks. Posting on Facebook represents an even smaller 1.4 percent of the traffic, yet the small amount of use should not minimize the risks in terms of what users are saying about work-related subjects such as current projects, travel plans and company status.

“IT teams are looking for ways to retain control within their organization at a time when non-IT-supported projects are pervasive,” said René Bonvanie, vice president of worldwide marketing at Palo Alto Networks.

“In fact, we’re starting to see more trending of IT teams themselves embracing more progressive enterprise applications, which is indicative of these disruptive forces at work.”

Given that 18 percent of businesses embrace social media, it is important to weigh up the risks that employee Facebook use entails with the benefits of positive engagement and employee morale. Simply blocking Facebook on the work network might mitigate the risks to your own network, but with the prevalence of smartphones, employees can still post to Facebook during work hours confidential information. Education is key regardless of your approach.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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