For about two years, Facebook has been trialling a version of it’s social network aimed specifically at businesses, called Facebook at Work. It was initially used internally at Facebook, then released to a limited number of other companies to use. Now Facebook has released the software for anyone to set up and use, and has rebranded it as 'Workplace'.
Workplace is in clear competition with Slack and other project-centered communication tools such as Trello. Microsoft also has Yammer, it's own social network that it recently integrated into Office 365. The design of Workplace looks very similar to Facebook itself and no doubt is based on the same software. Facebook do claim that anyone familiar with the social network will be immediately comfortable with using Workplace. A personalized news feed might sound familiar, and is again at the core of the Workplace interface. It also offers group discussion areas, and voice and video calling. Most notably from a security perspective, it uses separate login credentials rather than utilizing your existing personal Facebook account for access.
Slack was launched in August 2013 and reported over one million active users in 2015, so is well established but of course Facebook has huge reach and resources across its social network. Workplace also has a number of large organizations already using the software, such as Booking.com, Campbell’s, RBS and Save The Children. Both Workplace and Slack offer dedicated Android apps to make it easier to collaborate from a mobile device. The Workplace app is called Work Chat, and looks to be based on Facebook Messenger with instant messaging as well as voice and video calling. Facebook is offering Workplace as a free trial for 3 months. After that, the cost to an organization of less than 1,000 users is $3 per month per active user. For larger organizations, the cost for every additional active user over 1,000 is then $2 up to 10,000 users. Every additional user over 10,000 then costs an additional $1 too add. For comparison, Slack also offers a free option intended as a trial although without imposing a specific time limit. It then has subscriptions of $6.67 per active user or $12.50 per active user, depending on the features that are included in the package.