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Facebook threatens to do something in recruiting…again

FacebookSeems like Facebook has been trying to tackle recruiting for a long time – and in fact, they have, over and over. I wrote about them in 2012, and again in 2018, plus many, many updates in the news posts. Well, they’re at it again.

A recent article says that the social media behemoth is planning to add a gig platform to the existing Marketplace – connecting workers with small job opportunities like home repair or freelance work. Yes, kind of like TaskRabbit, Fiverr, or UpWork, in fact. It is perhaps not coincidental that California recently passed a law that kept Uber and Lyft drivers classified as contractors – not employees. Absorbing even a fraction of the demand for gig workers would represent a tidy chunk of change for Facebook – assuming that they grab a piece of each transaction. The article also mentioned that the company “recently expanded e-commerce on Instagram by allowing influencers to sell products off their profiles.”

So is this a ‘Big Move‘ by Facebook – or merely an opportunistic jump into an area that they have previously failed to exploit? I suspect it’s the latter. Facebook waited too long on gig platforms to be able to buy the market leader on the cheap (unlike their moves with Instagram and WhatsApp). The gig platform sector of the job board industry has splintered into multiple ‘leaders’ – the previously mentioned Fiverr and Upwork, home repair specialists like Angie’s List, plus many smaller platforms in niches such as Vettery.

I had always thought that Facebook would dominate the SMB job market, since many small businesses essentially use their Facebook company pages as their primary web presence. But Facebook has had plenty of competition in the SMB market, from old competitors like Craigslist, as well as newer ones, like ZipRecruiter. The latter no doubt caught Facebook’s attention with its preparation for a 2021 IPO. Perhaps adding a gig platform is a bit of extra insurance?

I have no inside knowledge, of course. It’s entirely possible that Facebook will never add a gig marketplace – after all, it took them a very long time to get into jobs in the first place! What I do know is that if Facebook enters the gig business, they won’t be doing so as a first mover – and they’ll have to spend a lot of money if they want to do it via acquisition.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to see plenty of gig platforms launch in the coming months – and they won’t have the Facebook name attached!

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