Over Half of US Companies Ban Facebook, Twitter, Survey Says

Dennis Faas's picture

While an increasing number of businesses are encouraging their employees to listen to music in the hopes of making them happier and thus increasing production, most U.S. bosses are taking an opposite approach to social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, with more than half of all companies banning them from the workplace.

The finding comes from a recent study by Robert Half Technology, an IT company -- appropriate, since most of the time it's a company's local IT rep who's responsible for setting out which sites are okay and which are not for employees to visit on company time.

According to the study, 54 per cent of U.S. companies surveyed said they've completely blocked access to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and even LinkedIn -- a site built to help ambitious career-oriented people construct a network of worthwhile colleagues. (Source: bizjournals.com)

Facebook Useful for Niche Market

Still, social networking hasn't been stamped out altogether -- 19 per cent of all companies, particularly those where employees need to be in contact around the clock, allow its use for business purposes only. Other possible members of this group include marketing companies who rightly view Facebook as a juicy money-making opportunity.

Executive director of Robert Half Technology Dave Willmer says that for most companies sites like Facebook and Twitter only hurt production -- but that's not always the case. "For some professions... these sites can be leveraged as effective business tools, which may be why about one in five companies allows their use for work-related purposes." (Source: computerworld.com)

16 per cent, or about 1 in 6 companies, say they continue to allow workers to use social networking sites for their own personal use.

Facebook Ban Spreads in Wake of 2008 Report

The survey's findings aren't too surprising a year after a similar study by Nucleus Research, also an IT research company, found that employee productivity can drop as much as 1.5 per cent at workplaces where Facebook (and similar sites) are allowed during office hours. The study also found that workers used these sites when they had a choice; of the 237 corporate workers asked, 77 per cent admitted they'd used social networking pages while on the clock.

Even the U.S. Marine Corps, worried about security vulnerabilities, has strongly discouraged those under its supervision from using these sites at work.

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