The Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant unveiled Workplace at an event in London on Tuesday. 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.
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.
The Workplace will also offer a separate Work Chat app that can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices. Facebook said it is offering Workplace for free to educational institutions and nonprofits.
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’s most entrenched competitor in the burgeoning workplace communications market is Slack: that service has a simplified free version, but firms that want all the bells and whistles pay $6.67 per monthly user or $12.50 for a deluxe package. There are no current plans to show ads on Workplace, a representative said.
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.