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Facebook unveils Workplace social network for companies

Facebook's Workplace

Do you spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook while at the office? Well, you’re hardly alone. Facebook is hoping to capitalize on that habit by unveiling a new social platform for companies called Workplace. After being tested in private beta under the name “Facebook at Work,” the network is now available publicly to companies, educational institutions, and nonprofits. 

The Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant unveiled Workplace at an event in London today. 

The beta version of Workplace has already been used by 1,000 companies around the world, and users have created more than 100,000 groups through the platform, Facebook said in a press release. 

“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,” Facebook stated. “People work in different ways, around the world, and Workplace’s mission is to help them stay connected.”

"Facebook at Work" is coming soon

Workplace gives users access to familiar features like Facebook Live video, Groups, Messenger, and a News Feed, but these Workplace accounts are separate from traditional personal Facebook accounts. The service is meant to help facilitate productive workplace discussion – similar to the popular communications tool Slack – rather than offering a chance zone out at your desk. 

Workplace also offers a separate Work Chat app that can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices. 

For those looking to connect with contacts in other companies, the service will also offer Multi-Company Groups, which are being called “shared spaces that allow employees from different organizations to work together.” These groups will be rolling out over the course of the next few weeks.

If you want to jump on the Workplace bandwagon, Facebook is offering a free three-month trial for businesses that sign up. After that, the service will cost $3 each month per user for companies that have up to 1,000 active users. It will be $2 per month for companies with 1,0001 to 10,000 active users, and $1 per monthly user at companies with more than 10,000 users.

Facebook says it is offering Workplace for free to educational institutions and nonprofits.

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