Dave Hall Consulting logo


Facebook a $5bil Waste of Time or a Major Cash Cow for Peddlers of FUD?

On Monday Fairfax (and others) were running a story about how employees using Facebook could cost companies a fortune in lost productivity. Facebook labelled a $5b waste of time was a catchy headline. The article quotes some back of the envelope calculations done by SurfControl. Basically they claim each Australian business has 1 employee using Facebook 1 hour per day (costing the company $6200 a year), and as there are around 800,000 businesses in Australia, so it costs the economy over 5bil AUD. I haven't seen the full report only the media coverage, but I can fairly confidently say that the 800,000 figure includes sole trader businesses and other small businesses which do not employ anyone or use computers. I read several blog posts on the issue, most comparing using Facebook to personal phone calls/email etc. I think the comparison is fair. So far I haven't seen anyone pick up the source of this "news". SurfControl clams that they protect
organizations with multiple layers of threat protection that filter inbound, outbound and internal Internet traffic.SurfControl's Enterprise Protection Suite protects multiple threat vulnerability points - Web, E-mail, IM, P2P and Mobile desktops - and is supported by SurfControl's worldwide Adaptive Threat Intelligence Service to provide customers with early detection of emerging threats, real-time updates and continuous protection.
Source SurfControl Mission Statement I am sure SurfControl would happily tell anyone contacting them, as a result of the press coverage, to purchase one of their filtering products. I wonder if SurfControl will be releasing a new report on how to peddle FUD to boost sales. Any sane business will have internet use policies for their staff. Businesses who are concerned about what their staff are accessing on the internet can implement a very simple transparent proxy using squid, SquidGuard and iptables running on low end hardware using Linux. I suspect that Facebook doesn't mind such publicity. Businesses such as Facebook rely on word of mouth and the SMH story helps them raise their profile.