CERN shuns Facebook's Workplace app over data privacy

The organisation stated that the decision was taken because of a lack of usage by CERN members and major concerns about data privacy

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research or CERN has decided to shun the enterprise connectivity platform Workplace by Facebook, citing concerns around the management of user data by the social networking giant.

Announcing that CERN's presence on Workplace ended on January 31, the organisation said the decision was taken because of a lack of usage by CERN members and concerns about data privacy.

Facebook made Workplace available to any company in 2016

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"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 1,000 members of the CERN community have created a Workplace account and there are roughly 150 active users of the platform per week," CERN said in a statement.

In October 2016, Facebook made Workplace available to any company or organisation. "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," said the organization.

Workplace announced that there were 3 million paid users

In July 2019, 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," said CERN. To replace key Workplace functionalities, a suite of alternative solutions has been made available to the CERN community. Workplace is an enterprise connectivity platform developed by Facebook, Inc. and featuring tools like groups, instant messaging and News Feed.

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