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Facebook's privacy blunders may trip up potential enterprise push

Sharon Gaudin | Nov. 20, 2014
If Facebook launches a business-focused network, CIOs will have to consider its privacy record.

"When you think about Facebook and the legacy they have right now, in terms of privacy and security, it's not their calling card," said Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis. "It's going to be hard for them to make a case that they can be a trusted partner. They certainly have the engineering moxie to do so but it's going to be an upward battle for them to convince enterprise IT that they should open up a stream into the enterprise."

He added that if Facebook does launch an enterprise version of its network, it would have to be completely walled off from its social network. Business people, and their companies, are not going to want their Saturday night party photos going out to their managers and company partners.

"It can't be open to some of the issues Facebook has had regarding privacy and security," said Shimmin.

Scott Strawn, an analyst with IDC, noted that Facebook is known for making a lot of its money by taking information from users' posts and comments to serve them up targeted ads. That may not fly with business users.

"People are much more sensitive about their work data and how their business dealings are being tracked," Strawn said. "If you're an enterprise client, you probably don't want your information collected while you're on [Facebook's] enterprise platform."

Hadley Reynolds, an analyst with NextEra Research, pointed out, that Facebook may have a rocky privacy history, but it's not the only company in that spot.

"It's proving that just about every corporation in America has had a spotty privacy record," he said. "I don't think this will be more of a concern, but it'll be one of the factors that makes a CIO stay up at night wondering. Would they stake their career on Facebook keeping their information locked up? I don't think so."


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