While many offices have frowned on -- or even prohibited -- people sharing Facebook "likes" and updates during working hours, the social networking giant hopes to change that through a new offering, Facebook at Work. Announced Wednesday as a test pilot, Facebook at Work is an app aimed strictly at enterprise users looking for a familiar way to communicate and collaborate on the job.
For now, the app is available only to a select group of Facebook at Work pilot partners. If it succeeds and rolls out on a global basis, however, Facebook at Work could give professional social networking sites like LinkedIn or Microsoft's Yammer a run for their money.
That's because Facebook -- while it's better known as a place for sharing personal photos, pokes and rounds of Words with Friends -- has a worldwide base of 1.35 billion monthly active users. LinkedIn, by contrast, has just 300 million members, while Yammer reports some 200,000 companies as customers.
Accounts Linked But Separate
Currently available to pilot partners as either an iOS or Android app (there's also a desktop version for partners at Facebook's Web site), Facebook at Work provides the same look and feel as its established, non-work counterpart. However, content on the work app is separate from a user's personal Facebook account, and is visible only to other employees using the work app.
Users with a work account will be able to connect it to their personal accounts so they can use the same username and password to switch from one to the other. They will also be able to use many of Facebook's already-familiar features -- News Feed, Groups, messages and events -- to share information with work colleagues.
"When you share something from your work account, you can share it with everyone at your company or make it only visible to you by selecting the 'Only Me' option," explained the FAQ for the desktop version of Facebook at Work. "Posts set to 'Only Me' won't appear in your co-workers' News Feeds unless you tag them in the post. If you share something with everyone at your company, anyone with a work account at your company can see it, but it isn't visible to people outside of your company.
Office administrators in charge of managing a company's Facebook at Work account, the FAQ added, "can access anything you share from your work account, just as they might access your work emails and other work files."
'Grow First, Monetize Later'
We reached out to Facebook to learn more about the pilot test and were told by a spokeswoman that the company is just getting started with Facebook at Work.
"We've been testing the product internally at Facebook for some time, and we've started testing with a small number of people at a handful of companies," the spokeswoman said via e-mail. "We're now ready to start testing, bringing on companies to test, and getting their feedback."
She added that a larger-scale rollout is planned for "some point in 2015."
When asked about reports noting that the pilot version of Facebook at Work does not feature ads, the spokeswoman said: "Right now we're looking forward to getting feedback from companies about their experience using Facebook at Work, we're not thinking about monetization plans. It's in line with how we typically launch products: focus on growth first; monetize later."
Posted: 2015-01-17 @ 5:44pm PT
Facebook is relevant to retail marketers only. For everybody else it is a waste of time. If a company introduces Facebook at Work, I want to know so that I can sell its stock.
Posted: 2015-01-15 @ 1:49am PT
Amen to Bob's comment!
Posted: 2015-01-14 @ 8:36pm PT
Facebook is irrelevant and must be phased out of our day to day lives or we are all doomed.