To Block or Not to Block? Social Networking Sites at Work

There’s no doubt that social networking sites are a relevant part of the everyday lives of people at home. This is occurring in the workplace as well. People are realizing these sites have impact not only in terms of personal growth and relationships, but also as tools for staying connected in business.

The recording industry recently demonstrated the growing importance of these sites. In early April, BusinessWeek reported that Warner, Sony BMG and Universal launched an endeavor with MySpace in which the social networking giant will allow users to listen to and watch music content and purchase related merchandise and tickets on its site. Certainly, there are business reasons to employ these sites.

But like all worthwhile technology tools, this one, too, comes with pitfalls. The increasing use of social networking sites in the workplace can have serious security and productivity implications for companies, which is why more and more companies are choosing to block or limit the use of these sites.

MessageLabs — a messaging and Web security services provider — found in February that the blocking of social networking sites by its customers increased from 12.9 percent to 46.9 percent. In March, 11 percent of its customers had decided to block access to Facebook specifically.

Scammers are coming up with new ways to steal information and corrupt users' computers through sites such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, MySpace and Facebook. One such method is Nigerian 419 advance fee fraud, which experts say has popped up recently on these sites.



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