Facebook's business network Workplace growing

SAN FRANCISCO • Facebook hosted its first global summit spotlighting a growing Workplace platform launched two years ago as a private social network for businesses.

While Facebook would not disclose exact figures, it said on Tuesday that Workplace - a rival to collaboration services like Slack, Salesforce and Microsoft - has been a hit and that ranks of users have doubled in the past eight to 10 months.

The list of companies using Workplace included Walmart, Starbucks, Spotify, Delta and Virgin Atlantic.

"It is growing very fast," said Workplace by Facebook vice-president Julien Codorniou. "We started with big companies, because that is where we found traction."

Workplace is a separate operation from Facebook's main social network and is intended as a platform to connect everyone in a company, from counter or warehouse workers to chief executives, said Mr Codorniou.

Workplace claimed that a differentiator from its competitors is that it connects all employees in businesses no matter their roles, even if their only computing device is a smartphone.

Mr Codorniou said: "Millennials want to know who they work for and understand the culture of the company."

He cited cases of top company executives using Workplace to get feedback from workers at all levels, bringing a small-company feel to big operations.

Companies pay US$3 (S$4.10) monthly for each active user of the network. Workplace, which has its main office in London, is now used by 30,000 companies.

Interaction with the platform plays off how people use Facebook, and Workplace adopts innovations from the leading social network. But it is billed as a completely separate product.

"This is coming from Facebook, but has nothing to do with Facebook," Mr Codorniou said.

The conference was used to announce new Workplace features, including a version of Facebook safety check designed as a way for companies to determine the status and well-being of workers in the event of a disaster or tragedy.

Workplace also introduced group voice or video chats with non-employees who routinely work with a company.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2018, with the headline 'Facebook's business network Workplace growing'. Print Edition | Subscribe