Facebook work chat

Facebook has quietly launched a messenger app called Work Chat on Android which will allow co-workers to message each other individually, participate in group chats, share photos and videos, make voice calls, and even use stickers.

With this, Facebook looks to take on other work messaging platforms such as Slack, Microsoft’s Yammer, Convo, and Socialcast. So far, the app has seen over a thousand downloads on the Play store and has been getting favourable reviews.

TechCrunch reports that Facebook will be coming out with an iOS version of the application soon though the company declined to give an exact date. The app comes in the backdrop that Facebook is launching a version of the social network designed for communicating with work colleagues called Facebook At work.

Facebook at Work has been in private testing from January and allows employers to create separate log-ins for staff to use with their Work accounts, or users can link these up with their other profiles to access everything in one place. TechCrunch added that Facebook so far has 300 companies on board for Facebook at Work including Heineken USA, Hootsuite, Linio in Latin America, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

MediaNama’s take

The Work Chat app will certainly help for communication within offices and is very similar to its well-designed Messenger app.However, the biggest strength of Facebook At Work is the fact that, once it implements features like public company profiles for each person, companies can finally set up a work profile without having to hijack employees private social profiles and hence set up better social media policies. We’re looking at you Times of India.

The work profiles might also give employees some protection from companies. There have been numerous reports of staff who vent about work on public posts which have been used as grounds for dismissal. It needs to be seen if Facebook At Work will be effective in creating a wall (pun unintended) between private social profiles and work profiles.

Other developments

– Earlier this month, Facebook started testing a crowdfunding model starting with nonprofit organizations to raise money for specific projects. It is also working on improving the Donate button, which it introduced for nonprofits in August.

– In September, Facebook launched a discovery and curation tool called Signal for journalists, which would allow them to track trending and breaking news.

– The same month, the company started allowing media companies, organizations, and individual creators to publish 360 degree videos. In March, Facebook had introduced an embedded video player, a new social plugin that would enable publishers to embed native Facebook videos in a video player.

– In July, Facebook, which had started testing a buy button for Shopify in June, extended this feature to various business’ Facebook pages.

– In May, Facebook announced Instant Articles, a mobile app feature where news from various news publishers were displayed.