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Facebook Begins Enterprise Social Network Service Testing

Facebook apparently does intend to enter the enterprise social networking market with its own offering targeted at business users. The new Facebook at Work will let Facebook users establish work accounts that are separate from their personal accounts.

Rumors that Facebook was developing a business network first came to light in November. News that the Facebook at Work pilot would launch today surfaced this morning in a report by Recode. A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that the company has launched the pilot with some undisclosed participants testing the new service.

"We're not disclosing the handful of companies in the pilot, since it's early and we're still testing," the spokeswoman said in response to an e-mail inquiry. I was able to download the new Facebook at Work app on my iPhone but when searching for it with my iPad  and Windows 8.1 PC, the app didn't appear in their respective app stores (as of Wednesday afternoon). The Facebook at Work FAQ indicated that it's also available in the Google Play app store.

"With a Facebook at Work account, you can use Facebook tools to interact with coworkers," according to the FAQ. "Things you share using your work account will only be visible to other people at your company. To set up an account, your company must be using Facebook at Work." The current app allows users to request more information on how employers can establish accounts.

To what extent a full-blown launch of Facebook at Work might have on incumbent enterprise social network providers such as Microsoft's Yammer, Salesforce.com's Chatter and Jive remains to be seen. But as SharePoint and Yammer expert Christian Buckley of GTConsult said back in November, "they will undoubtedly attract users, and have a number of high-profile deployments, but there is a very real line of demarcation between consumer and business platforms, and I just don't see Facebook as being able to close that gap in any serious way."

Do you see your organization using Facebook at Work?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/14/2015 at 12:44 PM


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