Facebook is doing everything it can to monopolize your time online, ramping up efforts in video, messaging, and news, among other media. Now it’s unveiling a whole new portal that officially acknowledges what you already do anyway: spend all your time at work on Facebook. Called Facebook at Work, the service announced Wednesday works pretty much just like regular Facebook, except you use it to connect to colleagues who may or may not be friends. Most important of all, the color scheme is different, which lets your boss looking over your shoulder know that, even though you’re on Facebook, you’re still “working.”
For now, Facebook says it’s making Facebook at Work available to a handful of partners, who will be testing the product ahead of its full-blown launch, tentatively slated for later this year. Facebook itself says it’s been using Facebook at Work internally for years.
“We have found that using Facebook as a work tool makes our work day more efficient,” Lars Rasmussen, Facebook’s director of engineering, tells WIRED. “You can get more stuff done with Facebook than any other tool that we know of, and we’d like to make that available to the whole world.”
“Efficiency” and “spending time on Facebook at work” may sound like a contradiction in terms. But if Facebook can actually make a tool that helps people get things done at the office, the company will have succeeded in finding a way to command even more of your screen time, especially if you’re not constantly worrying about minimizing that window. Facebook makes money when you see and click ads on the site, whether you’re at work or at home. The more time your eyes are on Facebook, the more of your attention it can monetize.
The way Rasmussen explains it, Facebook at Work has the same look, apps, and tools as the Facebook we’ve seen before. It will exist as a separate portal on the desktop, as well as on separate apps for iPhones and Android devices. A mobile Web version will also be available. The only thing that looks different is the color scheme of Facebook at Work’s interface, which is shaded white instead of Facebook’s trademark blue — making it easy for employers to tell whether you’re on “personal Facebook” or Facebook at Work with a glance.
Facebook at Work will revolve around colleagues in much the same way that regular Facebook revolves around family and friends. For example, your News Feed will populate with posts shared by the coworkers who you already interact with the most, Rasmussen says. The posts that see more shares will spread further, until the entire company might see it.
Say what you want about that nerd Zuckerberg, but the guy has been pulling internet power moves since he was dodging the Winklevoss twins in his days at Harvard. Coming right out and saying, “yea, we know all your employees are already dicking off on Facebook anyway, so we’re just gonna go ahead and give them another reason to do it” is such a cocky move you have no choice but to respect it. Facebook is the bane of every middle manager’s existence and probably accounts for at least 30% of all time wasted at work on a day to day basis. Forget that Facebook is trying to spin their new app as a way to increase productivity and further connect with co-workers. Most cubicle warriors spend every waking minute at the office trying to dodge their boss or counting down the minutes until they can leave and get away from their co-workers for another 12 hours. No one in their right mind is buying that bullshit. I totally get that Facebook has to be politically correct and try to spin this as a way to improve life around the office, but at the end of the day, everyone knows that Facebook is the biggest and baddest bully on the playground and no matter what he says or what bullshit excuse you end up telling yourself, when it’s all said and done you’re still giving him your lunch money.
PS- My mind is absolutely blown that Zuckerberg can be worth north of $30 billion and still dress like a member of your alma mater’s robotics team. Get you the hottest, most expensive stylist you can find, bang her and look like a million bucks. Everyone wins.