All public servants in Singapore to use Workplace by Facebook by 2017

Workplace by Facebook, a professional edition of the social networking tool, has been rolled out to 15 public agencies and in use by more than 5,300 public officers.
Workplace by Facebook, a professional edition of the social networking tool, has been rolled out to 15 public agencies and in use by more than 5,300 public officers. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - All public servants in Singapore will be using Workplace by Facebook to communicate with one another on their mobile phones and tablets, marking yet another first for Singapore among governments in the world.

Workplace by Facebook, a professional edition of the popular Facebook social networking tool, has been rolled out to 15 public agencies. It is in use by more than 5,300 public officers, the Public Service Division announced today.

The plan is to get all 143,000 public servants from all agencies on board by March next year (2017), said Mr Peter Ong, head of Civil Service. The decision was made taking into consideration factors such as security, cost and ease of use.

"It can be accessed via officers' mobile devices without the need to be connected to the intranet," he announced on Thursday (Nov 10) at the PS21 ExCEL (Excellence through Continuous Enterprise and Learning) Convention at ITE College Central.

The new tool will replace its in-house development called Cube, launched in 2013, as it "did not quite take off as expected", he added.

The use of Workplace by Facebook follows the Government's move to delink public servants' computers from Web surfing, first reported in June, to prevent leaks from work e-mail and shared documents amid heightened security threats.

Based on pricing info on Facebook's website, costs for the service for 143,000 accounts is estimated at around $154,000 per month after a three-month free trial.