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Facebook at Work for Enterprises To Launch Next Year

Currently being tested by several hundred companies, including the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Club Med, Facebook at Work is expected to see a wider rollout next year. Available for desktop and mobile devices, the app will function much like the regular Facebook, except that posts, messages and other content will be visible only to users with company work accounts.

“More than 300 companies are part of the pilot, including Heineken, Coldwell Banker, and Lagardere, and we are targeting a wider launch in 2016,” a spokesperson told us via e-mail today.

Julien Codorniou, director of platform partnerships and Facebook at Work, has said in interviews that the work-related version of the social network is the first startup inside Facebook. “Ninety-five percent of what we developed for Facebook is also adopted for Facebook at Work,” according to Codorniou.

‘Very Easy to Use’

Of the companies that have been testing Facebook at Work, at least two — RBS and Club Med — have made commitments to adopt the platform across their organizations. Club Med’s partnership, announced yesterday, would see some 13,000 employees around the world using Facebook at Work to share information and even use a built-in translation tool to communicate with co-workers in other countries.

“The tool is very easy to use and there is no need for training,” Anne Browaeys-Level, executive director for marketing and Digital Club Med, told the French-language publication BFM Business.

Browaeys-Level said the company first rolled out Facebook at Work to 400 leaders, and plans to expand usage in stages over the next several weeks until the platform is available to all employees. She said the company expects that Facebook at Work will enable “the sharing of ideas and best practices across the board, regardless of the hierarchical levels and geographies.”

Goal: To Become a ‘One-Stop Shop’

“With regards to features, we are still building out the product (for example, you may have seen that we recently added Work Chat),” the spokesperson told us. “Facebook at Work functions in a complementary way with other services, and companies should use the products and services that fulfill their needs and enable a more collaborative and productive workforce.”

Eventually Facebook is aiming to build a great product that can be a “one-stop shop for all collaboration and communication needs — and that can in theory replace e-mail, messaging tools, newsletters etc.,” the spokesperson added.

If it achieves those goals, Facebook at Work could prove a substantial threat to other business-focused networking sites like LinkedIn or Microsoft’s Yammer. Like Facebook itself, Facebook at Work will be free to use. However, “there will be a charge for premium services like analytics, support or integrations with third party apps,” the spokesperson said.

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