There’s no need to frantically close Facebook when your boss is approaching your desk, anymore – at least not if your workplace is hooked up to the social media giant’s new business platform.
The Facebook-hosted company communication tool has been under construction for more than two years under the name ‘Facebook at Work.’ On Monday, the service was unveiled with an official pricing structure and a new name, Workplace by Facebook.
The platform will be sold to businesses on a per-user basis. Following a three-month trial period, the company will charge $3 per employee per month for up to 1,000 employees. It will be $2 per employee beyond up to 10,000 users, and $1 for each employee over that number.
Workplace’s greatest competitor in the ever-expanding world of business communications tools is the team-messaging start-up, Slack. Slack’s least expensive business plan costs roughly $7 per user per month.
On its company blog, Facebook explained that its goal was to offer enough flexibility that Workplace would be an appealing option for a range of different businesses, “from a shipping company that can now connect with their ship crews using Live video, to a bank that now uses Workplace instead of fax machines and newsletters to share updates with its distributed bank branches”.
Facebook has already succeeded in recruiting one competitor, Microsoft, which will help businesses teach their employees how to use Workplace effectively. Microsoft acquired the business messaging tool Yammer in 2012. There are already 1,000 businesses using Workplace, including Starbucks, Booking.com, Telenor ASA and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The platform looks similar to Facebook’s normal social network, but users’ personal profiles are separate from their regular Facebook accounts. A news-feed displays articles and comments catered to certain teams or the company as a whole. Facebook’s popular live-streaming service is also available for corporate communications or presentations, and a version of Facebook Messenger is provided for real-time communications.
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