Top 5 Reasons Why Your Workplace Blocks Facebook

Don’t you just love Facebook? Whether it’s adding new members to Mafia Wars, finding new busboys for Café World, or cyberstalking your ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, Facebook has endless options to keep you entertained.

If only you could logon at work — strictly during your lunch hour of course, then your charmed wired life would truly be complete. No such luck. Back to reality. Nearly 50% of all businesses and even more of government agencies block Facebook, and here’s why.

1 — To Facebook and Beyond
To be clear, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and the like aren’t the problem themselves. Frequently, the problems come from links posted to the sites that users just cannot resist clicking. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent employees from clicking those free iPad emails is to block the root cause — social media sites themselves. Sorry, Facebook.

2 — No, He Can’t Read My Koobface
When that email arrived in your Facebook inbox with the subject line “You look so amazing (sic) funny on our new video,” did you really think someone had posted a video of you without your permission? Well, they didn’t. Instead, you got malware called Koobface. And when you got the email titled “You look just awesome in this new movie,” were you just vain, or were you stupid as well? You know curiosity killed the cat, but you were meaning to legitimately update your Adobe flash software for weeks, really you were. So you clicked. Instead, you got double Koobface in the form of an innocent download of a not-so-innocent .exe file. Big fat Facebook fail for you.

3 — Less Money, More Problems
A primary reason some under-funded IT departments choose to block social media sites comes down to resources. If your company has unlimited Helpdesk resources to clean viruses and abundant staff with nothing better to do than fight the perpetual battle with malware programmers, then Facebook may not be blocked where you work. Enjoy that, because if it’s actually true, chances are it’s not going to stay that way long as social media websites become a more popular target for malware creators. The financial burden alone of providing unlimited support for a mainly non-job-related activity seems like nonsense. Especially since it could possibly bring a network to a screeching halt. Why risk it?

4 — I’m Giving It All She’s Got, Captain
Under-staffed IT departments have a similar problem. Their overworked helpdesk technicians don’t have the time to justify these issues at length with users, much less deal with the seemingly unending variations of these social viruses. It seems improbable that any organization would offer up the needed man-hours to fight them forever. You have to face the fact that eventually organizations have and will continue to decide to block Facebook. Then those man-hours can instead be used to train users not to click on new up-and-coming social media sites. The alternative for these IT departments is to refuse helpdesk support for virus cleaning and simply reject computer connections to the network until users figure out how to clean PCs themselves. Yeah, that’ll happen.

5 — You and Employees Like You
When it comes down to it, you’re the real reason your company had to block Facebook. Koobface didn’t jump on your work PC. You clicked it. You had to call the helpdesk. You took up time and resources. Just think before you click. Also, don’t go around trying to find a backdoor way into Facebook just because it exists. If it’s apparent that your company denied you access to Facebook and other social media sites, defying that could cost you your job. But on the other hand, then you could creep on Facebook whenever you like — at home and unemployed, that is.

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  1. Alexandria Acosts Reply

    Bandwidth constraints are another reason. If everyone is on social networking sites chances are capacity can be constrained. Telecom costs and costs to maintain stability on networks are not worth the risk of an overtapped network.

  2. John Mark Ivey Reply

    Great point Alexandria. The reasons keep piling up. Ironically, I recently saw some figures where more and more companies that block social media sites are actually “whitelisting” Facebook. I think it’s because twitter and MySpace don’t have the marketing pull of Facebook’s 600 million active users. Plus Facebook is becoming more of a networking site like Linkedin. The story will continue for sure.