Facebook has brought its Facebook at Work offering out of beta, opening the service up to any organisation who applies and giving it a new name: Workplace.
Workplace is a closed-off ad-free version of the social network that enables colleagues to communicate. The obvious comparison is work chat app Slack, but Workplace offers a wider range of functions.
It comes with all the usual Facebook features, including the news feed, groups and chats, along with more recent additions like Live video streaming and Reactions. As you'd expect, though, some of these features work in a slightly different way – for example, sending a friend request is replaced with an immediate Twitter-style 'follow' button for any person within the company, and the 'Trending' section replaces news stories with popular internal posts.
There are also specific enterprise features, including more robust analytics and reporting tools to track company usage, and identity providers that make it possible to integrate Workplace with existing IT systems. As the service launches out of beta, Facebook is also introducing 'Multi-Company Groups', a way of collaborating between different organisations in a single shared space.
On mobile, the service encompasses two apps: Workplace and Workplace Chat, which like the main Messenger app separates out IM functionality.
"The workplace is about more than just communicating between desks within the walls of an office," reads the blog post announcing the launch. "Some people spend their entire workday on the go, on their mobile phone. Others spend all day out in the field, or on the road. We’ve been amazed by the breadth of organizations who’ve embraced Workplace — 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."
The beta, which first launched in January last year, signed up 1,000 organisations including Starbucks, Oxfam and Booking.com. To encourage further adoption, Facebook has launched the Workplace Partner Program. This is a list of technology and professional service organisations, including Deloitte and Edelman, who will help companies get up and running on the service.
Workplace charges companies a monthly fee per active user, starting at $3 (£2.44) per user and shrinking to $1 if the organisation has over 10,000 active users.