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Facebook launches intra-office 'Workplace' network

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Social network giant Facebook on Monday launched new global product Workplace, a platform that it hopes will replace intranet, mailbox and other internal communication tools used by businesses worldwide.

[LONDON] Social network giant Facebook on Monday launched new global product Workplace, a platform that it hopes will replace intranet, mailbox and other internal communication tools used by businesses worldwide.

It is intended to compete with similar office communication products including Microsoft's Yammer, Salesforce's Chatter and Slack.

The Silicon Valley company developed the concept, hitherto called "Facebook at Work", two years ago in its London office and has since tested the product on 1,000 companies worldwide.

It is the first Facebook product launched outside the United States.

"We combined the things that already exist into a single tool that will allow employees to display a wall of information, like on their private profiles," Julien Codorniou, director of Workplace, told AFP.

Workplace was developed outside of the Facebook ecosystem and remains completely separate from the social network, being accessible without a Facebook account.

The service will only enable the transfer of intra-office data, which will remain fully owned by the business.

"We've brought the best of Facebook to the workplace - whether it's basic infrastructure such as News Feed, or the ability to create and share in Groups or via chat, or useful features such as Live, Reactions, Search and Trending posts," said the company.

"This means you can chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with your CEO's presentation on Facebook Live."

Subscribers will pay between one to three euros (S$1.50 to S$4.60) per connected employee, depending on the size of the business, while NGOs and educational establishments will receive the service for free.

"At the moment we have 1,000 companies that have already switched to Workplace before the worldwide launch, creating 100,000 groups," said Mr Codorniou.

Early adopters include multinationals Danone and Booking.com, financial institutions such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and NGOs including Oxfam and Save the Children, said Facebook.

The top five countries using Workplace so far are Britain, France, India, Norway and the US.

"There is a potential worldwide market of 2.5 billion employees, who have no similar product to choose from," said Mr Codorniou.

"Our ambition is to connect the world, which has to happen through the world of business," he added.

AFP