Businesses chop Facebook to save internet costs

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Businesses chop Facebook to save internet costs

Australian employers have turned to URL blocking to cut their internet costs with social networking sites high on the corporate blacklist.

In a further sign that balance in the jobs market has tipped firmly back into the employer's favour, figures from Telstra Business and MessageLabs show that 6,000 attempts by workers to access social networking sites like Facebook are now blocked each day.

This compares to just 2,000 blocked attempts a day 10 months ago.

"Tweeting, friending or poking your way through the working day may not be the best way to improve the productivity of those many small businesses which are battling to find a way through the challenging economy," Telstra Business executive director Brian Harcourt said.

The statistics were collected by MessageLabs from a sample of 500 SMEs, according to a Telstra spokesman.

Access denials to social networking sites including Facebook, Youtube, Bebo, Myspace and Twitter are known to have been specifically monitored by MessageLabs.

Given the set sample size, the three-fold increase in URL blocks appears to be symptomatic of changing attitudes of employers.

And there are some more figures that seem to support the notion of employers cutting back on web 2.0 access in the workplace.

Telstra said that, among the sample, the total number of URLs "blocked" jumped by 193 per cent since January, the majority of which are social networking sites.

In contrast, the total number of URLs "allowed" has been slashed by 58 per cent in the same period.

Telstra has recently formalised its own social media policies internally governing "acceptable usage", and the telco anticipates others will use continuing financial uncertainty to do the same.

"There is a clear need for formal policies on the use of social networking sites in the workplace and the appropriate and effective software tools that support those policies," Harcourt said.

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