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Facebook Launches 'Workplace' So You Can Use Facebook At Work For Work (theguardian.com) 78

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Facebook's business platform will get an official pricing structure and a new name, Workplace by Facebook, on Monday. The service, a Facebook-hosted office communication tool, has been in the works for more than two years under the name Facebook at Work, but now the company says its enterprise product is ready for primetime. The platform will be sold to businesses on a per-user basis, according to the company: after a three-month trial period, Facebook will charge $3 apiece per employee per month up to 1,000 employees, $2 for every employee beyond up to 10,000 users, and $1 for every employee over that. Workplace links together personal profiles separate from users' normal Facebook accounts and is invisible to anyone outside the office. For joint ventures, accounts can be linked across businesses so that groups of employees from both companies can collaborate. Currently, businesses using Workplace include Starbucks and Booking.com as well as Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor ASA and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Facebook has said it will eventually require for-profit businesses who helped to test the service to pay for it, but it has not picked a date when those businesses' free service will end. Nonprofits such as Oxfam and Save the Children, as well as educational institutions, will continue to use the service at no cost. "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," the company said in its blog post.
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Facebook Launches 'Workplace' So You Can Use Facebook At Work For Work

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  • by Temkin ( 112574 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @06:46PM (#53051333)

    Just no. Fuck no!

    • by shubus ( 1382007 )
      Definitely a big fat **NO**.. Just FB trying to get hold of all your company data. EZ to imagine the uses they would put this data to. JUST SAY "NO"!.
  • pay a dividend instead
  • If this is heap of money-sucking, time-wasting garbage is what finally launches the telecommuting revolution and causes everyone to "understand" networked collaboration, there is a real non-zero chance I will go completely mad.

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      i would venture that your sanity is safe. none of this crap matters until there is a way to integrate disparate systems to actually collaborate based on standards and that will never happen because then... none of their crap will matter.

  • by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:00PM (#53051403)

    "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,"

    Which shipping company? Which bank? I want to short their stock. Connect with live video? Srsly? How long have Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts been around? Faxes and newsletters? What century are these companies living in?

    I should probably short Facebook too while I'm at it.

    • Re:Which companies? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:25PM (#53051553)

      Faxes and newsletters? What century are these companies living in?

      Faxes are still in daily use by government bureaucracies, and businesses that interact with the government, including lawyers and doctors. If a bank it using faxes, it is only because they are required to use faxes by some compliance checklist. So there is no way that they could switch to "Workplace" simply because it was more convenient.

      I should probably short Facebook too while I'm at it.

      Keep in mind that the "Slashdot consensus" was that Facebook would be out of business by 2008, that the Google IPO would tank, and that the iPhone would be dead-on-arrival.

      • Faxes and newsletters? What century are these companies living in?

        Faxes are still in daily use by government bureaucracies, and businesses that interact with the government, including lawyers and doctors. If a bank it using faxes, it is only because they are required to use faxes by some compliance checklist.

        We're talking about video conferencing for a shipping – i.e. cargo container ships – company; and faxes and newsletters for banks, that could use web servers on the corporate intranet for those sorts of things. Those were the examples given, and those were specifically what I was responding to. Oh, BTW, my banks seem perfectly happy to email PDFs around for most things, which can be more secure than any FAX could ever be. Even my doctor sends me plain text files and PDFs by putting them on a se

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        they mentioned for internal use "its distributed bank branches" so maybe yeah they should have tried this new thing called email or an intranet...

        • by zlives ( 2009072 )

          also "Slashdot consensus" don't take into account marketing and are mostly based on technology assessment/ use case.
          marketing and ad-service ecosystem sustain themselves regardless of validity or functionality of a product. look at windows 10 :)

      • Re:Which companies? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 11, 2016 @12:09AM (#53052839) Homepage

        Keep in mind that the "Slashdot consensus" was that Facebook would be out of business by 2008, that the Google IPO would tank, and that the iPhone would be dead-on-arrival.

        Yup. And when Facebook's stock cratered right after it's IPO (as did Google's), the was dancing in the virtual Slashdot streets. They were certain there were going to be lawsuits, that Facebook would evaporate, etc... Yet, today, it's trading at $130 a share. (And we're still waiting on the Year of Linux on The Desktop.)

      • Keep in mind that the "Slashdot consensus" was that Facebook would be out of business by 2008, that the Google IPO would tank, and that the iPhone would be dead-on-arrival.

        So short Slashdot stock then?

      • Slashdot forgets that not all businesses are IT businesses. The beauty of a fax is that it's machine-to-machine. While you can intercept a fax, you need to be in the position of being able to tap a physical phone line. Unlike email, and unlike the dodgy windows computer used to send email, faxes are pretty secure. I've worked in multiple businesses where sensitive information gets faxed. Everything else can go over email, but personnel records, anything with a SSN or other bit of personal information such a

        • by Wulf2k ( 4703573 )

          And I can almost guarantee you that every single fax is either automatically converted to a PDF or scanned to one, thereby negating even that benefit of faxing.

      • Keep in mind that the "Slashdot consensus" was that Facebook would be out of business by 2008, that the Google IPO would tank, and that the iPhone would be dead-on-arrival.

        Slashdot is great for investment advice: you simply do the opposite of what the hive mind says.

    • How long have Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts been around? Faxes and newsletters?

      That depends. Do any of them offer the feature set of all of them? If you take any feature in isolation this doesn't sound attractive at all. If you take all features together you may realise that not only is Facebook close to being the first past the post, but that every other IT services company is working on the same functionality.

      Frankly if it kills Yammer then I'm all for it. If it takes out Lync ... errr I mean Skype for computers that are already fucking slow so we'll add the worlds least efficient c

  • Why would anyone want their business and/or customer information exposed to Facebook's systems?

    to a bank that now uses Workplace instead of fax machines and newsletters to share updates with its distributed bank branches,

    I hope that bank isn't sending customer financial information in those updates.

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      as compared to google? or microsoft?

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Exactly! None of them can be trusted, basically you are handing them on silver platter, all the inside information of your company. They will know before the, normal insiders traders in the company know, the future financial conditions of the company. All sorts of information to be stolen from sucker companies and passed off to companies they have an investment in. Pretty much various securities agencies across the globe should ban that software as attempting to regulate it's abuse would be impossible and t

        • by zlives ( 2009072 )

          unfortunately, the decision makers are not the typical Slashdot crowd and lack of understanding and the incentive to capitalize on that lack are greater motivators than making sound technological decisions.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Unfortunately? This is yet another thread that makes it obvious how out of touch Slashdot is with what both companies, and their employees want.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            The idea is to prod the regulators with regard to the risk, at least they will start the fiscal investigation into potential data mining insider trading, problem is, it will lead them to offshore tax haven traders done by those corporations to purposefully hide that insider trading but when it blows up, boy will it blow up, major shit storm. The tax havens look to be on their last legs and the corrupt corporations and governments are struggling to still hide behind them (those asset seizures would end many

            • by zlives ( 2009072 )

              risk assessment and risk understanding typically stand at odds, but if the shitstorm is big enough maybe that will change.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only cynic who's convinced the only reason Facebook did this was to get Facebook in general cleared past corporate firewalls? I haven't seen the url's that Workplaces uses but I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of overlap.

    • Your accounts are separate, though there may be a way to put your "other" profile linked in your About page or something. But you have to log in with your work email in a distinct account. Say you work as a contractor for several places, you may end up with multiple Facebook Work accounts on each email you get.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Disclaimer: I work at Facebook but I'm not in any way involved with this product. I just use it internally.

      The URLs are completely separate. I use some Chrome extensions to filter things based on domain, and it's very easy to distinguish work URLs, they're on a different domain.

  • You know they'll datamine the hell out of this. The resulting.... outsider trading with insider knowledge will be astounding. Oh, that sounds awesome, no patent on it yet? I'll put a team of people on inventing this before you. This sounds like a total disaster for any corporation.
    • The resulting.... outsider trading with insider knowledge will be astounding. Oh, that sounds awesome, no patent on it yet?

      Actually, that's already been tried. Someone who ran the print and distribute service for companies started using that information. It was ruled to be insider trading.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:35PM (#53051605)

    Posting AC duh.

    My company has been using this for a while now. The upper management all claim to love it. The people who don't understand good web forums, good email usage, etc, love it too; the people with more procedural jobs and less tech knowledge. The people who know how to use email, search mailing lists, etc, think it's crap. Most of IT hate it. So let's compare FB@Work with FB@Home (the one you all know). Many people think it replaces email, which is deluded.

    So the good:
    Threaded comments
    Easy image inlining
    OK mobile app
    Reasonable search facility (unlike FB@home where you can't find anything later unless you bookmarked it)
    If you can get it working, Social Fixer does fix some things on it, it's the same style sheets and JS as FB@Home.
    You're paying, so you're not the product being sold any more.
    No advertisements (unless your company puts internal stuff, like safety reminder notices or whatever).

    The bad:
    You have to click many times to read a full set of comments to a post, just like FB@Home. Being treated like a source of click revenue is really annoying.
    It's aimed at a single stream of posts. It's hard to filter, there are no user filters (only reading each group at once).
    It's hard to save any categories of stuff you like.
    People think it's Facebook so they lose all self control and post any random crap that crosses their mind. So your post feed is a mixture of drivel and important things and you can't sort/search/scan easily to find that. You'll miss the quarterly department work priorities announcement between people's cat pictures and selfies doing something cool with a client.
    Now way to get data out.
    No choice of client, of course - FB web or FB app, no RSS feed or anything like that. You can be emailed comments if you like, like FB@home, but that's it.
    The feed goes back about 10 days. Take a fortnight off? You're hosed, you'll never see the things you missed.
    There's no way to see "posts in order since I last looked", your last read is not saved. You just have to go back until you get deja vu and realise you read all this already.
    Posters expect everyone relevant to it sees their posts. Like FB@Home that doesn't happen, so communication is fragmented. Don't send out major reorg announcements with this, 'cos some people will miss them.
    The layout design is fixed, narrow, width. If you have a wide screen you still have to scroll as much as someone on a tiny laptop. It's idiotic.
    All your company data now belongs to Facebook and gets sent to the USA.

    It's way more effort to read than a decent email setup most of the time, though the comments-with-posting is useful. I frankly think an old- style USENET server would be better (with a web frontend for the under-30s of course). Because it's so much effort to read, and check you haven't missed anything, it's a complete time sink.

    The sneaky:
    The design is just like FB@Home. Unlikely anyone walking near your computer would spot you were on FB@home wasting time. Have the FB@Work tab by FB@Home and change fast.

    Overall the interface is pretty sucky and Facebook haven't got their heads out of their backsides for this any more than FB@Home.

    • The sneaky:
      The design is just like FB@Home. Unlikely anyone walking near your computer would spot you were on FB@home wasting time. Have the FB@Work tab by FB@Home and change fast.

      If this was a waste of time it would be reflected in their performance review. Why would you run a business looking over someone's shoulder and freaking out if they happen to have a non-work related page open?*

      *posted from work, in an open plan office, with my boss sitting behind me.

  • In fact, unlike Russia, they spy on you even when they don't have to, because in FB Workplace, you must be guilty of thoughtcrimes or you wouldn't be working in a place with FB Workplace.

  • Just think of how FB mines your FB page for data. Now think how it will mine your work FB page for data. You really think intelligent (yes, I had to preface what I'm about to say with that word) Cxx's will in any way let that into their company?

    / don't have a FB page
    // zuckerberg can zuck off
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Disclaimer: I work at Facebook but I'm not in any way involved with this product. I just use it internally.

    It just basically lets you use Facebook groups and messenger within your company (and the other stuff like newsfeed and notes and photos, but I don't need that). It doesn't tie to your Facebook account beyond a one-time import of your name and profile picture. I prefer it to Slack for some use cases, because you can have posts and comments within groups, and you can choose which groups to get notificat

    • I was wondering whether to mod you Funny or Informative for " I work at Facebook ... It doesn't tie to your Facebook account beyond a one-time import of your name and profile picture". I don't use TwitBook (really, it doesn't use me) at home nor anywhere else, and thanks to your comment I would definately avoid using a work-related version if I had the misfortune to be somewhere it was being trialled.
    • Messenger tends to be a great way of pinging coworkers, and you can just not check it or turn it off when you don't want to be disturbed.

      Kind of like Jabber or IRC, except for (a) done stupid, (b) not free, and (c) under FB control, then? Sounds marvy.

    • It doesn't tie to your Facebook account beyond a one-time import of your name and profile picture.

      I'm curious as to how you think this isn't a permanent tie? As in, everything you now do on your work account can now be associated with your home account.

      • (I'm the GP) Not sure what you mean. This is a business product, so your employer already knows everything about you, your name and birthdate and what you look like. If you use Facebook for your personal stuff, it's already tied to your real name and the association is already there. Some of your coworkers have surely already looked at your profile and seen whatever is public. But they won't see anything that is not public if you don't accept their friend requests. If you don't use Facebook for your persona

  • Yo dawg, I heard you like Facebook at Work, so we put a Facebook at Work in your Facebook at work so you can Facebook at Work while you Facebook at work.
  • Okay, everyone here is bitching about the usual privacy and other crap like that. So, I'll take this in a different direction...

    Name one... only ONE feature that Facebook for Workplaces has over traditional Facebook? I've been following this thing since it was announced, and have yet to see a single thing this does which normal Facebook does not do. It has the EXACT same messaging system, EXACT same groups system, and the EXACT same layout and management for groups/messages. The only differences I've been a

    • Your company gets to decide what kind of outside connections are made as far as I know. It's intended to replace things like Microsoft Lync, but far more robust. I use Lync daily to talk inside my organization.
  • I was just complaining about an earlier news item posted on Slashdot for a Facebook corporate chat client they were apparently going to sell as competition to apps like Slack chat. And now THIS?

    I'm even a regular Facebook user and I have to say I hope this thing crashes and burns!

    There are SO many options out there to handle "internal social media". Where I work, we've been using Salesforce "Chatter" for this stuff for years.
    WHY would anyone decide Facebook is the optimal thing to re-purpose as an Intranet

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Industrial espionage has a new name lol...

  • All your employer's data are belong to us. Muhahahaha!

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