According to the New York Times, Goldman Sachs and Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies are investing $500 million in Facebook. But Goldman employees could be blocked from viewing the fruits of their labor during office hours.
"Even as Goldman takes a stake in Facebook," writes the Times, "its employees may struggle to view what they invested in. Like those at most major Wall Street firms, Goldman's computers automatically block access to social networking sites, including Facebook."
Indeed, the majority of U.S. companies block, limit or discourage employees from accessing social media networks at work, according to a survey conducted in 2009 by consulting firm Robert Half Technology.
But Facebook use has been banned at Goldman Sachs since before blocked access became the norm for businesses. In 2007, TechCrunch reported that a Goldman trader in the UK was admonished for allegedly spending spending several hours a day on Facebook.
Some may debate the benefits of blocking sites like Facebook and Twitter at the office, but it's unlikely that Goldman will relax its policy, given the security risks associated with social networks. Recently, researchers with computer security software and services leader McAfee, Inc. predicted that social networks will be some of the biggest targets for cybercriminals in 2011. In the company's 2011 Threat Predictions report, McAfee Labs senior VP Vincent Weafer issued the following warning:
We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most [...] These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss.
Facebook, one of the world's top social platforms, is also one of the most vulnerable, according to the McAfee report.