Facebook Is for You, Facebook at Work Is for Your Job
Some people still aren't allowed to use Facebook at work. But the social network wants people to use Facebook *for* work.
Facebook has begun testing a work-only version of the social network called Facebook at Work so that companies can use Facebook as an internal communications tool without employees boring their families or oversharing with their bosses.
People use Facebook to keep up with friends and family, but they may opt for other services like LinkedIn, Microsoft's Yammer or upstart Slack to wall off communications with colleagues. Instead of surrendering people's attentions to those other services, Facebook has decided to roll out its own that will keep them firmly within Facebook.
Facebook announced the new at-work service on Wednesday to coincide with the roll-out of Facebook at Work apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad and smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system.
Facebook is testing the work-specific service with a few companies, but a Facebook spokeswoman declined to name the participating companies. Facebook plans to officially roll out the at-work service sometime this year, she said.
Facebook at Work basically takes the things you can do on normal Facebook -- status updates, instant messaging, event scheduling, group chat -- and makes it so that only your co-workers can see what you do with them and only when using Facebook at Work. For example, you can post photos or article links that would appear in a news feed, but those updates will only appear in the news feeds of colleagues when they use Facebook at Work.
Facebook won't say how the company plans to make money from Facebook at Work. Facebook isn't currently charging companies to use Facebook at Work, but the spokeswoman declined to say whether the company plans to charge for the service in the future. She also declined to say whether Facebook plans to run ads on Facebook at Work.
"Right now we're looking forward to getting feedback from companies about their experience using Facebook at Work, we're not thinking about monetization plans. It's in line with how we typically launch products: focus on growth first; monetize later," the spokeswoman said.
A less direct way that Facebook could make money from Facebook at Work is to use the data collected from the business service to target ads on regular Facebook. But that's not happening, at least not yet. "We are not currently collecting or using information for ad targeting," the spokeswoman said.