Facebook obviously confuses businesses

Facebook is blocked by many businessesFacebook is the most blocked website in the world. According to the annual report from OpenDNS, even though pornorgraphy is the most blocked category, Facebook is the single site which is picked out to be blocked more than any other. Indeed, only 1% of users of OpenDNS block Playboy, but 23% of businesses block Facebook.

Strangely though, Facebook is also one of the most “whitelisted” sites in the world. Whitelisting is where you can block a category of website from appearing on your network – such as all social networking sites – but then allow any specific site within that category to pass through the network block that is on your “whitelist”. Facebook is actually the second most whitelisted site in the world, just a smidgen behind YouTube (another commonly blocked site).

So, a sizeable number of businesses block Facebook, whereas another almost equal proportion of firms actually make sure it comes through their blocking systems. Strange but true. Interestingly, business users of OpenDNS tend not to block porn, but do block other sites. Within the top ten sites blocked by businesses all you find are social networks and advertising sites. It seems that companies are not happy to have their staff “waste their time” talking to other people, but are happy for them to waste their time looking at pictures of other people with their clothes off.

What this all really points to is a complete lack of understanding of social networking by big business. Indeed, it points to a misunderstanding at so many levels. After all,  if you block advertising on your networks you cannot easily see what your competition is up to. Similarly, by blocking social networking sites, you dramatically limit your potential for market research.

What this data from OpenDNS really shows is widespread confusion within business. Some block Facebook, others specifically allow it while blocking other social networks or advertising sites. It all suggests just how much business have yet to learn about the whole world of Web 2.0. Most are not even scratching the surface of the massive potential it holds, while many, it seems, are running scared in the opposite direction. These tend to be the controlling, centrally-based, hierarchical firms in the main – and just take a look at what is happening in the Middle East. Controlling, hierarchical regimes are collapsing. The Web 2.0 revolution may be more subdued and quiet online, but the same effect can be seen; the companies that block Web 2.0 activities are likely to be the ones that whither and die. Central control is so Society 1.0; wake up we are now in Society 2.0…!

  • You can use OpenDNS to help your business, though. What it does is replace your DNS lookups from your Internet service provider. A DNS lookup is where a server converts the domain name you type in or click on to a set of numbers and then searches for where the website that is based at that number is physically located in the world and then it connects you. It is a kind of telephone exchange for the web. OpenDNS is usually faster and is more up-to-date than many other systems, including your service providers. Also, it means you can block individual sites, or categories such as hard-core pornography. It is particularly useful in the home where you can block children from seeing undesirable material.

1 thought on “Facebook obviously confuses businesses”

  1. Two different processes at work, none commercial. Whitelist exceptions are probably decided by IT guys who wantaccess to FB & YouTube – the "company" is probably not in the decision-making process.

    The active blocking will be done by HR and compliance (Stasi) people, again without reference to the commercial leadership.

    No-one cares about time-wasting, and no-one wants to discuss porn in "polite" company.

    So FB is blocked because a box can be ticked, where companies have box tickers, and allowed because control is delegated to the IT geeks who run firewalls, where management has no clue.

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