Facebook’s ‘Workplace’ claims two million users

Workplace by Facebook, a version of the social network designed for business collaboration, now claims some two million paying customers (AFP pic)

A version of Facebook tailored for businesses collaboration announced Thursday that it has more than two million paying subscribers.

“Workplace by Facebook” is an enterprise-oriented version of the social network that, instead of distracting workers, lets them connect and collaborate.

The software-as-a-service business began as an internal collaboration platform used at Facebook and was launched as a separate business in 2016.

Workplace by Facebook went from no paid subscribers to more than two million in 16 months, according to its chief Karandeep Anand.

Facebook late last year hosted its first global summit spotlighting a growing Workplace platform launched as a private social network for businesses.

Workplace rivals include collaboration services from Slack, Salesforce and Microsoft.

The list of companies using Workplace includes Starbucks, Nestle, Vodafone, Telefonica and Delta Airlines, according to Facebook.

Workplace is a separate operation from Facebook’s main social network and is intended as a platform to connect everyone in a company, from counter or warehouse workers to chief executives, according to Workplace by Facebook vice president Julien Codorniou.

Anand said during a briefing this week that the main Facebook social network, which has been embroiled in controversies over data protection, has “no visibility” into Workplace data.

Facebook’s core social networking service, supported by targeted advertising rather than subscriptions, has been battered by criticism and controversy regarding how well it safeguards user data and privacy.

Workplace claimed that a differentiator from its competitors is that it connects all employees in businesses regardless of their roles, even if their only computing device is a smartphone.

“That really resonates with a new generation,” Codorniou said.

“Millennials want to know who they work for and understand the culture of the company.”

Workplace is rolled out to everyone in companies, which then pay US$3 monthly for each active user.

Interaction with the platform plays off how people use Facebook, and Workplace adopts innovations from the leading social network. But, it is billed as a completely separate product.

This is the first time Workplace has revealed the number of paid users, and the figure did not include non-paying customers such as non-profit organizations or schools.