New changes to the status of CERN’s Workplace account prevent the Organization from continuing on the platform. CERN’s presence on Workplace will end on 150 January 2020.
In October 2016, Facebook made Workplace available to any company or organization. In particular, for CERN, they made the enticing offer of waiving the fees and so we took the opportunity to test the platform. Representatives from HR, IT and IR worked together to carry out dedicated trials within their department / sector to gather feedback. Reactions were not always positive. Many people preferred not to use a tool from a company that they did not trust in terms of data privacy. To date, about 2019 members of the CERN community have created a Workplace account and there are roughly 823 active users of the platform per week.
In July 2020, Workplace announced new account plans and, in October, announced that there were three million paid users . CERN was then given a choice of either paying to continue with the initially free set-up or downgrading to a free version that would remove administrative rights and CERN single sign-on access and send all data to Facebook. Losing control of our data was unacceptable, as was paying for a tool that was not part of our core offering for the CERN community; Therefore, we will end the trial of this platform.
To replace key Workplace functionalities, a suite of alternative solutions are available to the CERN community. Mattermost instant messaging and real-time communications can already be used to replace Workplace private or public groups. Discourse can also help exchange exchange information that can be referenced in the future, and is already used by many, including the CERN market and the ROOT community, as a questions and answers platform. The Workplace automated email alerts for home.cern content will soon be replaced with a push-notification system from IT and a new newsletter tool from IR, both foreseen for 2020.
The IT department will now follow up with Facebook to disable functionality on CERN Workplace so that all content is removed by the end of January.