Reports indicate that Facebook is experimenting with a feature meant to assist its users find mentors in a move that seems aimed at Microsoft-owned professional networking platform, LinkedIn. The feature is designed to enable users find people to mentor them. It also enables those who are looking to mentor others find mentees.
Once a mentor and a mentee are matched, the feature that Facebook is testing out then lists the pair’s respective professions, education, friends and common interests. With the new feature Facebook could potentially increase user engagement as well as the time professionals spend on the platform. This could lead to the generation of more advertising revenues especially if these professionals are moving from LinkedIn.
According to a survey conducted in the United States approximately 45% of adults whose annual income is above $75,000 are LinkedIn members which would make such a niche category of users highly attractive to advertisers. LinkedIn currently has about half a billion users while Facebook has a little over two billion.
However it might prove to be a Herculean task to get LinkedIn users to move over to Facebook since a significant number of users prefer to have their professional and social activities kept separate. Another risk for Facebook is that if it becomes more of a professional networking platform, it might lead to a decline in user engagement as users will become more selective with regards to what they post since they will be aiming to project an image of themselves that is more employable and professional. This will result in less content being shared. For Facebook this is a risk it might not want to take since user engagement has been on a downward trend. In 2016 for instance users of the social media giant posted 30% less content compared to 2015.
This is not the first time that Facebook is trying to add its appeal to working professionals. Earlier in the year the Palo Alto, California-based social media giant unveiled a feature which allowed the posting of job postings on Facebook Pages.
But with the mentorship feature Facebook stands to be accused of copying the feature from LinkedIn which earlier this summer launched a mentoring program. This would be the same accusation it has faced with some of the features it has recently introduced on Instagram and its main platform and which were initially available on Snapchat.