The popularity of online social networks like Facebook is being blamed for decreases in the productivity of businesses. A recent study by IDC found that 30 to 40 percent of Internet use in the workplace is not related to business. The Gartner Group found that employees updating their status on Facebook, watching YouTube videos, tweeting on Twitter, and shopping at eBay is resulting in a 40 percent loss in productivity for businesses each year. In an economy where businesses are laying off large percentages of workers in order to stay afloat, these reports cause serious concern. Some businesses are employing content filtering technology that prevents employees from accessing social networks, media sites, and other time-consuming Web sites. Other software provides the employer with daily reports on how long each employee has been online, and what sites were visited. Under state and federal law, it is legal for private employers to monitor email, voice mail, and Internet activity so long as employees have been notified of the practice. It is also legal for businesses to lay off employees who use corporate networks, and time for non-business activities.
Monitoring Web Surfing at Work [NewsFactor]