Facebook finally unveiled a long-rumored version of its social network, dubbed Facebook At Work, with an emphasis on organizational communication for employees at a single company. The service, which is set to launch as a free app on Android's Google Play and iOS' App Store later today, will still require participating companies to receive an official invite, but upon launching the service, employees will enter an ad-free, no-subscription version of Facebook that connects employees only to each other, as opposed to the wider world.
Facebook hasn't revealed many screenshots or any demo footage ahead of the app's launch, but Facebook offered Ars a brief description: "Facebook at Work is a separate experience that gives employees the ability to connect and collaborate efficiently using Facebook tools, [including] many that they’re likely already using, such as News Feed, Groups, messages, and events." In that respect, the service will both mirror those of corporate communication tools like Yammer and Slack and offer its own familiar twist for employees who have already gotten hooked on Facebook's style.
In the meantime, creator Lars Rasmussen made the interview rounds on Wednesday to describe what users can expect from the work-only version. In short, users will be allowed to have both their personal and work logins running at the same time, though in separate apps; they'll be able to share documents through the Work site but not yet edit them; and much of the way posts and links are presented will resemble Facebook Groups.
How Facebook will make money from this service remains unclear, as its current iteration will neither host ads nor track companies' use patterns and data. (In multiple interviews, Rasmussen hinted at a paid version of Facebook at Work to come.) In addition, such privacy assurances don't change the fact that Facebook will host Facebook At Work's communication and content, meaning that participating companies must choose to trust Facebook's security systems with sensitive communications. "Employees' Facebook At Work info is safe, secure, confidential and completely separate from their personal Facebook profile," a company spokesperson said to Ars. "The info shared among employees is only accessible to people in the company."
For now, Facebook has politely declined our request for logins to Facebook At Work. When we get access, we'll cook up a ground-floor review of Facebook's work-only fork.