Right on schedule, Facebook's private social networks for companies officially launched today. After several years in private beta, the company's Slack and Yammer competitor is now known simply as "Workplace," and is available to companies, non-profits and educational institutions of any size.
According to Facebook's announcement, more than 1,000 organizations around the world are already using Workplace, with India, the US, Norway, UK and France leading the top five countries. With the public release, the company hopes features like Messenger chat, Facebook Live and Groups will become indispensable to companies, rather than just a daily distraction. (And, because Workplace accounts are completely separate form Facebook accounts, the discussions should be a little bit more focused to begin with.) Aside from those familiar elements, Workplace has a few new corporate tricks like dashboard analytics, single sign-on and better IT integration to make it even more office-friendly. There's also a separate Work Chat app for iOS and Android so employees can keep in touch while they're out of the office.
On a more general note, Facebook is rolling out "Multi-Company Groups" which allow employees from different organizations to work together without using their personal Facebook accounts, as well as a Workplace Partner Program that lets large companies serve as ambassadors for Menlo Park's latest product. New companies can get a free three-month trial period for signing up, but after that Facebook Workplace has a tired pricing structure that costs $3 per month per user for companies with less than 1,000 active users, or as low as $1 per month for companies with over 10,000 users. For non-profits and Educational Institutions, Workplace is completely free.