The announcement by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) about using Facebook as means of gathering intelligence illustrates the increasing adoption of social networking sites by organisations.
GMP has announced it is working with Facebook to develop a Web 2.0 application that will allow users to receive a news feed, as well as links to a crime-reporting form, Police Web sites and videos.
“Organisations now understand the value of collaborating using public consumer tools like Facebook," said David Lavenda, WorkLight's vice president of marketing and product strategy. “We find many such organisations that leverage the free infrastructure provided by consumer services in order to complete tasks at work.”
According to Lavenda, the fact that the Police are now using Facebook illustrates how social networking sites can be used by public sector bodies to effectively communicate using the tools popular with their constituents.
"The social network is also being harnessed as a business tool by private companies, but access there needs to be tightly controlled. This is WorkLight’s unique value proposition, since our technology allows organisations to use Web 2.0 consumer services like iGoogle homepages, RSS feeds, or social networking tools like Facebook, in the office to do work, but without the attendant security risks," he added.