A new survey claims that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are costing the British economy a whopping £1.38 billion a year due to employees frittering away their time unproductively.

Brits using Twitter and Facebook for personal use through the working day waste, on average, around 40 minutes a week, according to a new survey.

One in three of the 1,460 office workers in a survey carried out by IT services company Morse also said that they had seen sensitive company data posted on public social networking forums and sites.

Productivity black holes

Philip Wicks, consultant at Morse, thinks that the actual cost to the British economy could even be be substantially higher than £1.38bn

"When someone is asked for their own use they say around 40 minutes a week, but when asked about their colleagues they say they say up to an hour a day. We have used the lower of those figures rather than the high point," said Wicks.

"It is the sort of thing people constantly use which means that it's not quite the same as doing a crossword, where you spend half an hour on it and it is finished.

"When it comes to an office environment the use of these sites is clearly becoming a productivity black hole. Social networking can be a cause for good when it is used professionally but I think organisations need to wake up – that is not the way it is always being used."

Via Telegraph.co.uk