2

Short version of questions:

  • Is it unprofessional or ...rude... if an employer/supervisor group posts information like staff meetings (not mandatory but paid) to the staff only facebook group (which I'm a member of) knowing that I'm never on Facebook?
    (I've missed 1 meeting because of this, and only made 2 others because I heard people at work talking about it in a conversation once, and actually went on facebook to see what the chaos was when I got back from being gone for a week).

  • Secondly and similarly, I work for an animal shelter, and when new animals with specific needs come in or develop, they're then posted on the group facebook page... which I'm never on. They're hardly ever posted physically at the workplace--so to learn about them I literally have to be on facebook. Also, at work, we don't have wifi, public or private, and my phone doesn't get good enough reception to go on the internet very well at their location, and it's my personal phone--so I can't really go on facebook on the clock to get the information...and if they expect me to look at this info when I'm at home or wherever, that's expecting me to work off the clock, during time for me to do things that aren't working.

I've mentioned that I don't go on facebook a few times to some of the supervisors and coworkers but just missed a staff meeting yesterday because I didn't know about it. I've also had a co-worker say things like "well you should look on facebook because I posted about blah" and I say, I'm never on facebook ...

I don't want to make too many waves, but I feel really excluded and like this is an unprofessional, inefficient, assumptive (making assumptions), and potentially 'illegal' way to transmit information (requiring employees to work off the clock is illegal as far as I know).
Am being I a sensitive baby about being expected to spend my off-the-clock time scouring Facebook (which I literally log onto about once every 2-3 months)...Facebook is a SOCIAL network. Thanks for reading this far, I've tried to condense this comment into something more concise.

As a p.s. I would have used "unpaid" "off-clock" or "off-the-clock" "announcements" as keywords but they don't exist yet, and "discrimination" isn't exactly a great fit but I'm being discriminated against because I'm not glued to Facebook like it's a biological implant.

  • Update:Thanks everyone for your view of the situation, it helps to have many opinions to see where everyone stands. I've emailed my manager, concisely, to mention that I feel a little left out, and haven't heard anything back. However a coworker (supervisor) texted me yesterday because due to weather the appointment I had been politely asked and agreed to voluntarily come help with for a dog was cancelled (I thanked her for the text). I do see I could simply solve this by living on Facebook waiting for info, but actual hard copy notices at the work place is AT the work place and are simple too – Addie Jan 8 at 23:03
  • They should probably be using Workplace, not consumer Facebook. – hjie Jan 10 at 13:25
  • To put things into perspective, I have WhatsApp only for my boss. Instead of calling or texting he only sends messages through WhatsApp. I prefer emails, calls and for short messages SMS... But who am I? – Odyssee Jan 18 at 20:33
13

Sorry to be blunt, but this really sounds like stubbornness on your part; you can easily solve this problem with technology and put it behind you.

You don’t need to “be on Facebook” to get these notices. You can set up Facebook to send you an on-screen notification on your phone whenever anyone posts to a specific group. Although your signal may be poor, it’s probably no worse than anyone else’s, and almost certainly good enough to provide these notifications for you in a timely fashion.

  • 5
    You can also set Facebook up to send you emails when people post to groups. This basically gives you want you need. – user44108 Jan 4 at 9:40
5

In my opinion it is a little inconsiderate. Unprofessional and rude would be overstating things.

Businesses need a way of contacting their employees. Cost, company-specific requirements and ease of use are legitimate considerations there. It is absolutely fine for your employer to decide that Facebook is suitable for their use case. It is free, many employees (including supervisors) are already familiar with it, many use it frequently and it can be as effective as email for short informal announcements. If a company has no significant IT infrastructure and no money or need to build it, then this can be a very effective solution. At my current job, we use Office 365. So in addition to my digital private calendar (shared with family, available on mobile) I use a physical diary (personal preference) to plan tasks and an Outlook calendar to indicate when I'm in office and to share meeting requests. I don't use Outlook because I like it, but because my company has decided that it fits their use case and is their standard tool. If I don't use the tool they provide properly (don't look at it, don't enter when I'm out of office) then I'm not performing my job as well as I should.

However, I have hangups about Facebook. The privacy aspect, for one. They collect too much data for my liking. Also, I wouldn't like to have all my colleagues as FB friends, but I'd hate to have to decline friend requests from the more prolific FB users. I'd feel that it puts me on the spot. And my spare time is my own time, unless otherwise agreed in the work contract. Lastly, I would object to their presumption that they are able to contact me through my personal Facebook account and would grudgingly (FB still tracks everything) create a secondary account. I think I understand where you are coming from.

But if you object without seeking accommodation, then you become the problem. The investment (time and effort) they ask from you, should be considered separately from the tool in question (facebook). Consider all aspects, then talk to your employer:

  • What would it take for you to approach Facebook as a purely work-related tool? A separate account? Using it on the employer's hardware rather than your mobile phone?
  • If you wanted to merely stay up-to-date (not actively involving yourself in discussion or posting new announcements), how much time would that take you on a weekly basis?
  • How much time are you willing to invest off-the-clock? What is reasonable for your employer to ask?
  • Is your employer willing to give you time on-the-clock to read up on important messages?

If you want to get real clarification, request 15 minutes of their time. State your goal of discussing the mutual expectations with regards to the use of Facebook for work-related communication. It sounds as if you've only remarked on it so far, and that is too easy to brush off. That doesn't get you a clear answer and becomes annoying if you do it repeatedly. If you do, don't complain, just ask their expectations, state how you feel and explain why you feel that way. It's the quickest way to an agreement.

Ideally your supervisors have no problem with you using Facebook on-premises and on one of their PCs to stay up-to-date. You, on your part, should be willing to accept the responsibility of diligently checking whatever communication system your employer has decided to use. Heck, maybe they'll even allow you to do it on the clock. Or in your lunch break.

Worst case, you'll have to explain that you don't use Facebook, so this is akin to asking you to read your company email on the weekends. But every job comes with its disadvantages and perks, and <10min/wk, just to ensure that you're not missing anything critical, is not an unreasonable ask.

4

In answer to your questions:

Is it unprofessional/rude to communicate via Facebook?

No more so than using Slack or Skype for Business, at least for what you say they are using it for. Facebook is a communication tool, and they are using it as such. With that said, I would steer clear of talking about sensitive stuff on Facebook, which your colleagues seem to be doing. Even then, I would only do this because Facebook has a bad privacy reputation and, should it get leaked to the press that sensitive information is being communicated over Facebook, they may have a field day with it (there are a few laws that would also apply, but that is moot point for the purposes of your question). In terms of others eavesdropping on your conversations, Facebook is as bulletproof as Slack et al. If you are worried about your own privacy, just set up a burner account.

It may be that your signal problems are due to your carrier alone, and you would have these problems with any internet-based communications. Can you ask for a work phone?

Is it illegal?

Absolutely not and for the same reasons I've just outlined above. Checking your Facebook every now and again can hardly be considered work, and such an accusation would not fly in any court of law.

Am being I a sensitive baby about being expected to spend my off-the-clock time scouring Facebook (which I literally log onto about once every 2-3 months)

Yes. If you log in via phone, you should be automatically getting notifications whenever a post is made. Tapping that notification takes a few seconds.

Facebook is a SOCIAL network.

So is LinkedIn. What is your point?

  • 4
    An employer demanding you to use LinkedIn for certain work-related activities would be just as problematic, probably. I don't understand the last point. – Erik Jan 4 at 11:30
  • @Erik It's no more problematic than forcing people to use Slack or Microsoft Teams. No one is forcing OP to use their personal Facebook account. As for my last point, LinkedIn is a social network that's designed around professional circles and professional contacts. But it is still social media. Even WhatsApp and Telegram are nowadays technically social media. The fact that a tool is social media should not automatically preclude it as a professional communication method. – 520 says Reinstate Monica Jan 4 at 12:06
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    You should probably make it more explicit that you suggest people should use a business specific account for these services. It's not clear from the answer, and currently reads like you'd suggest using a private account. – Erik Jan 4 at 12:25
  • @Erik I did offer the suggestion of using a burner account if OP is worried about their own privacy, but if it is literally just being used to organise meetings then I'm not really seeing the necessity for a business-specific account here, so long as their privacy settings are sensibly set and common sense is being applied to their social media. – 520 says Reinstate Monica Jan 4 at 12:37
  • 2
    It's a violation of Facebook policies to have a "burner" account facebook.com/help/975828035803295?helpref=uf_permalink – Acccumulation Jan 4 at 20:44
1

Yes. This is not an usual setting. For the time being, you can ask someone to inform you for any important things.

Also, there is an option to create a separate profile for work and join that group only and do nothing else. That justifies logging into that during work and you can check at a more frequent intervals.

0

Normally, your employer needs to provide you work tools. If you are expected to check your facebook, skype or emails during your work hours, you need to be provided a tool for that (a smartphone or a computer) and internet access.

Yes, some companies want employees to use their private devices to save money. This, however, isn't very professional and creates potential privacy problems. Expecting employees will use their private data plans isn't professional either.

Facebook creates many privacy issues and I know plenty of people who have no account for security reasons. It's absolutely not the same as skype, jira, slack since skype, etc. don't expect you, for example, to use your real name (actually facebook asked me to send them a copy of my ID!) or share your birth date.

So yes, your employer's behavior is totally unprofessional. However, you can't do much about it apart from 1) discussing the topics with your boss, 2) trying to ignore the fact you have no access to some information and seeing whether it will cause problems and 3) quitting if the two first options don't work.

Whether it's legal or not depends on the country you're in. I'm quite sure expecting employees to be on facebook or/and to access their private emails or facebook accounts during work hours without providing internet access would be potentially problematic in my country (Germany). But it's also clear most countries don't enjoy the high level of employee protection and privacy laws typical of Germany.

  • "Normally, your employer needs to provide you work tools. If you are expected to check your facebook, skype or emails during your work hours, you need to be provided a tool for that (a smartphone or a computer) and internet access." In many industries you are expected to provide your own tools, an internet enabled device is pretty much expected now in most developed countries. – Alan Dev Jan 4 at 18:50
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    @AlanDev, that's absolutely not standard, unless you work from home or as a self-employed consultant, which the OP doesn't seem to. – BigMadAndy Jan 4 at 19:21
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    @BigMadAndy Small startups often require you to use your own devices as well. – JAB Jan 7 at 3:47
  • @JAB, I've worked for startups. I was given a laptop and of course (because that's the issue here), a password for the internet connection. – BigMadAndy Jan 7 at 8:28
  • 1
    @BigMadAndy and I've worked for a startup where they only provided office space and eventually internet access. (And a production server on AWS.) It might not be standard in your experience but it happens. – JAB Jan 7 at 16:51
0

This is no more unprofessional than posting notices to a physical bulletin board in the entrance to the building and expecting you to read it.

Technology does not change responsibilities.

If you have a smart phone or a computer, or both you can check that private group literally at will. Reticence on your part is simply reticence on your part.

If you are unwilling or unable to acquiesce to your employers methods of notification, then you are perhaps in the wrong environment.

  • "If you have a smart phone or a computer...." OP said that there was no wifi, and the cell signal in the building was not adequate for Facebook use. Are you saying that only those people who subscribe to a particular carrier should be working there? – David Thornley Jan 7 at 18:25

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