End of the affair for businesses and social networking?

16 Oct 2009

Recent reports are beginning to indicate that the corporate world’s love affair with social-networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo and Twitter may be coming to an end.

The Web Hacking Incidents Database 2009 Bi-Annual Report, recently released, indicated that 19pc of all hacking incidents targeted social-networking sites, raising a number of security issues.

In addition to this, recent research from Linkshare in the UK has shown that only 4pc of social networkers have clicked on a banner advert, calling into question the effectiveness of advertising on these sites.

“From a corporate’s perspective, the findings of these two reports is certainly food for thought,” said Richie Howard, director, Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte.

“The fact that hackers are increasingly targeting social-networking sites will create issues for both social-networking site owners and for corporate network administrators who must now decide whether such social networks may cause too big a risk to allow them to be used on employee PCs.

“However, more worrying is the news that expenditure on advertising on these sites may have been ineffective,” Howard continued.

“One of online advertising’s main selling points has been the ability to track marketing spend through to actual online purchases. It could be a case that one of online advertising’s main advantages could now turn out to be one of its main threats.

“While it has been accepted for a number of years that banner advertising lacks traction, we believe that it will be those social networks that can provide addictive interaction or reward customers for looking at adverts that that will prosper.

“At the same time, the social-network site owners will need to look at their measures to control malware being uploaded on their sites.

“Social networking has enjoyed a sustained period of success over the past five years. How it deals with its first threats to its future viability will dictate how the next five years run,” Howard said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Hackers are targeting social-networking sites, such as Facebook, the Web Hacking Incidents Database 2009 Bi-Annual Report suggests.