Facebook at Work wants to get all up in your business

A version of Facebook for inter-office communication holds promise, but it's still in testing and there's no business model yet

facebookwork
Credit: TechCrunch

Facebook’s long-rumored enterprise offering is stepping out of the shadows, though it’s far from being a finished product.

It’s called Facebook at Work, and while it looks a lot like Facebook’s existing mobile app and website—complete with Likes, comments and private messaging—it’s walled off from the wider social network to allow for inter-office communication. As TechCrunch reports, Work is a standalone app for iOS and Android, and it has a separate website.

To use Facebook at Work, employees must create a separate account, which they can then link to their personal accounts under a single login. But Facebook insists that there is no crossover between personal and work data.

While the new apps and websites are technically available now, Re/code reports that they’re only available to a handful of pilot companies. Facebook is still running tests, and hasn’t said when it will launch Facebook at Work more broadly.

That may be for the best, as Facebook has yet to define a business model for the product. The test version is completely free, but Facebook told TechCrunch that it hasn’t ruled out advertising or subscriptions. And because there are no third-party app integrations currently, employees can’t do things like collaborate on a document through the app. Again, Facebook is playing its feature plans close to the vest.

Why this matters: For people who’ve become deeply familiar with Facebook through their personal use, the idea of an enterprise version could be alluring. Still, the company is facing plenty of competition, from lookalike services such as Yammer to more purpose-built collaboration tools such as Slack and Quip. And as Facebook battles long-standing perceptions of untrustworthiness, it’ll need more than just a mirror of its personal network to win over businesses. It’s no surprise, then, that the company is moving cautiously as it figures out which direction to go in.

This story, "Facebook at Work wants to get all up in your business" was originally published by PCWorld.

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