Kathleen Chaykowski ,

Facebook on Monday launched a new enterprise version of the social network called ‘Workplace’ to support chat and collaboration within businesses.

Source: Facebook Unveils ‘Workplace’ To Take On Slack, Yammer

Facebook doesn’t only want to be a network for friends.

On Monday, the company widely launched a new enterprise version of Facebook called “Workplace“ to support chat and collaboration within businesses. More than 1,000 organizations currently use the tool, previously known as ”Facebook at Work.” With features that resemble Facebook’s main app, Workplace lets users post about their work, follow a feed of colleagues’ updates, discuss projects in groups or watch a live video broadcast by a company executive. Workplace accounts are ad-free and are separate from users’ personal Facebook accounts, and vice versa, which should alleviate concerns among some companies that the app might detract from productivity. Workplace also looks different from Facebook’s main app with a more subdued, gray color scheme.

Facebook broadly launched 'Workplace' for businesses and organizations on Monday. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Facebook broadly launched ‘Workplace’ for businesses and organizations on Monday. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Facebook faces a host of competitors in the business messaging space, from Slack, to Microsoft’s Yammer and Jive by Jive Software. (Microsoft recently showed interest in further intertwining enterprise software and social networks through its bid to purchase LinkedIn.) But, Facebook’s broad global exposure — nearly a quarter of the world’s population is a monthly Facebook user and 60 million companies actively maintain a Facebook Page – should help propel adoption of the new tool in the crowded space. Companies will likely also be attracted to the simplicity of the tool, which works like Facebook’s main app and requires minimal training, unlike many other enterprise options.

Workplace will create a new revenue stream for Facebook, which primarily generates sales from advertising. While the tool is free for nonprofits and educational institutions, other organizations pay a monthly rate based on the number of monthly active users: Businesses pay $3 per employee for the first1,000 employees, $2 per employee for 1,001 to 10,000 users and $1 per employee for more than 10,000 users. The service includes unlimited file, photo and video storage and unlimited groups. (By comparison, Slack offers a free version of its software along with two packages – one that costs $6.67 and one that costs$12.50).

“Workplace will help more companies create the kind of open culture that encourages people to connect and share,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Monday, describing organizations’ feedback about the tool as “very positive.”

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