Facebook has updated ‘Workplace’ – but is your data safe?

Facebook has added more tools to its enterprise platform, Workplace. But at a time when the social media giant is under scrutiny for the way it has handled its users' personal data, can it be trusted?
2 May 2018

Workplace by Facebook has added new updates to help businesses boost communication and collaboration. Source: Shutterstock

On Tuesday, Facebook rolled out a variety of new integrations for Workplace, communication and collaboration tool for businesses. The updates were announced at the F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, which began with a big push into the enterprise.

The tool was launched in 2016 as a communication platform designed to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes- competing against the likes of Slack and Microsoft Teams. The application has the potential to eliminate communication problems in the work setting, removing the barriers between departments.

Workplace can be likened to a supercharged company intranet. It is designed with the look and feel of the consumer Facebook, ensuring a familiarity which makes it easy for employees to use.

Features include:

  • The ability to set up project/ department group chats to facilitate communication and collaboration.
  • Multi-person video-calls.
  • Integration with business applications such as Dropbox and Microsoft Office which allow users to share files within the platform.

The platform notifies you upon being mentioned in a group chat. Source: Workplace by Facebook

New updates to increase business efficiency

The company introduced the new updates to adapt Workplace to meet the needs of modern working practices in enterprises.

Such updates include the integrations of over 50 software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, including the likes of Jira by Atlassian, Microsoft Sharepoint, and SurveyMonkey.

With the new integrations, a variety of enterprise software can be used within the Workplace platform to perform actions such sending updates or allowing employees check the performance of a campaign.

The integration of third-party apps allow professionals to communicate and collaborate more effectively. Source: Shutterstock

Facebook has also focused on integrations to make common workflows more efficient, including expenses, annual leave, and income breakdown requests. Instead of having to access this information on an external website or app, payroll providers have the potential to send employees a notification within the Workplace tool.

In addition to the multitude of integrations – which were requested by thousands of organizations using Workplace – Workplace also announced partnerships with news outlets including Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, and Reuters.

With this new feature, employees have the option to subscribe to feeds from such sites, with the idea that they can keep up to speed with industry news from within Workplace.

How protected is your data?

The new updates come at a time when Facebook is still under scrutiny over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that happened last month. The digital consultancy accessed personal data on up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

The scandal has raised questions of whether the social media giant is to be trusted in the handling of personal information.

When asked whether Facebook’s management of private data on its consumer platform is undermining interest in Workplace from businesses, a spokesperson from the company told Tech HQ  “[the scandal] did not impact us in a meaningful way”.

“At both Workplace and Facebook, protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do. Workplace has strong third-party certifications and our Premium customers are the owners and controllers of their data,” added the Facebook spokesperson.