What Facebook Is Really Doing With Job Postings

The web is abuzz with reports that Facebook could be going after LinkedIn’s business, with a new jobs board after the Wall Street Journal posted a story that the social network is launching its own job board later this summer.

Juan Mabromata | AFP | Getty Images

Though Facebook won’t comment, sources tell me that the headlines don’t tell the real story. This isn’t a new strategy, and Facebook isn’t going after LinkedIn’s business or trying to recreate its three revenue streams (marketing, premium subscriptions, and recruiting fees). Instead, this is simply the next step in the “Social Jobs Partnership” Facebook launched last November.

In the “Social Jobs Partnership," Facebook is teaming with the Labor Department, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the Direct Employers Association, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies to launch a page — facebook.com/socialjobs — to help job seekers and employers. One of the goals: to “explore and develop systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge.” Check out the full press release here.

What does that mean in practice? It makes sense that Facebook would aggregate the postings from the various services — including BranchOut — that post jobs via apps on Facebook. And it makes sense that Facebook would aggregate those postings and allow companies to post directly, probably to that site: facebook.com/socialjobs.

Facebook currently does not directly monetize LinkedIn-style services like BranchOut and Jobvite, and this wouldn’t change that. But Facebook does benefit when these apps engage Facebook users, keeping them on the site longer and bringing them back more often — that provides more opportunities to show them ads.

Is this a threat to LinkedIn? LinkedIn shares dropped 5.4 percent Monday on concerns that anything that allows people to use Facebook for professional networking could challenge LinkedIn’s dominance in that realm. But it’s worth noting that LinkedIn has a very different business model, and has thrived on the fact that people want to keep their professional and personal identities separate.

That’s what JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth thinks — he has an “Overweight” rating on LinkedIn shares and a $135 price target. He wrote Monday: “We do not view it as a material threat to LinkedIn and we would view any material weakness as a good buying opportunity.”

More job services could help Facebook engage users, and we’ll see what other revenue opportunities emerge down the line. But for now, this incremental development, which we may see mid-August at the earliest, is not a game changer. Let’s see what it actually looks like — that’s still being worked out.

— By CNBC's Julia Boorstin

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