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Facebook at Work (finally) launches as 'Workplace'

Matt Kapko | Oct. 11, 2016
Facebook already owns consumer social networking, and with its new Workplace service, it’s clear it wants the enterprise, too. The new offering will feel familiar to Facebook users but will also remain separate from company's consumer platform.

workplace by facebook ios iphone apps

Workplace by Facebook for iOS.

Enterprises that use Workplace retain exclusive ownership of their data, according to Facebook. "We're very clear in the contract that the company owns the data, and we do not, and they have access to it whenever they want," Ryan says. "If they choose to turn off the service, all of that goes away." Facebook also gained SOC 2 compliance certification for Workplace, to help alleviate some privacy and security concerns CIOs may have, and the company will continue to pursue more IT certifications as needed, according to Ryan.

Workplace has all of the same basic features of Facebook, including News Feed, live video, reactions, groups, search and trending posts, in addition to exclusive corporate features, such as a dashboard with analytics and access to identity providers that enable companies to integrate Workplace with existing IT systems, according to Facebook. Today it also introduced multi-company groups to give businesses the ability to collaborate with fellow Workplace users employed by different organizations.

As for technical support, Facebook says it will provide assistance 12 hours a day, five days a week, and it will guarantee a response within 48 hours, or two business days.

Partner program will fill Workplace gaps

Facebook plans to bring more capabilities to Workplace through a partnership program that includes more than a dozen companies at launch, including Deloitte, TBWA and Okta. It currently has no plans to introduce document editing tools or storage, but Facebook will look to existing providers to fill those gaps, according to Ryan. "We're a platform company … we're not going to be the best at offering these specialized tools, whether it's storage, document management or ediscovery," he says. "That's where our legacy as a platform company comes into play, is starting to make those APIs and the platform available so specialized type of needs … is done by people who already do that and do that very well." 

Facebook, which first launched nearly 12 years ago, didn't rush into the enterprise market by any means, but Workplace by Facebook could ultimately represent the purest manifestation of the modern consumerization of IT movement.


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