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(TNS)—Now there’s a version of Facebook that even your boss might like.

On Monday, the Menlo Park tech firm released “Workplace by Facebook,” an enterprise communication tool meant to foster more productivity in the office. It looks similar to a person’s personal Facebook, but users aren’t browsing the social network for cat videos or engagement photos. Instead, they’re communicating with their co-workers or business partners even when they’re not sitting at their desks.

“The workplace is about more than just communicating between desks within the walls of an office. Some people spend their entire work day on the go, on their mobile phone. Others spend all day out in the field,” Facebook said in a statement.

The tech firm is charging companies a monthly fee per active user to use the product. Workplace, which is available on desktop and mobile, costs $3 per user for the first 1,000 monthly active users, $2 per user for 1,001 to 10,000 monthly active users and $1 per user for more than 10,000 monthly active users.

As Facebook tries to conquer the workplace, it not only has to convince businesses that the new tool is worth paying for, but it’s also competing with similar services such as Slack and Microsoft’s Yammer.

While Facebook is charging a lower price than its competitors, it might still be tough sell to businesses who fear that social media could fuel more negativity in the workplace or make them more vulnerable to legal risks. But it could appeal to younger workers who are more used to communicating electronically than face to face.

For Facebook, Workplace also gives the tech firm a way to grow its revenue outside of mobile ads.

The tech firm has been testing the product, formerly known as Facebook at Work, globally for more than a year. More than 1,000 organizations worldwide, including Starbucks, YES Bank in India and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore have been piloting Workplace.

It includes features such as live video, work chat, trending posts, analytics and other tools. Workplace also allows companies to create “Multi-company groups” so employees from different organizations can work together. Workplace is separated from an employee’s personal Facebook.

More than 100,000 groups have been created in Workplace and the tool has been the most popular in India, Norway, the United States, United Kingdom and France.

©2016 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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