It’s official. Facebook are continuing their efforts to make the distinction between Workplace and consumer Facebook more obvious.
This is clearly a good thing. When I talk to potential customers, most are very enthusiastic but about 10% of people say, “I don’t trust Facebook”.
I immediately start talking about Workplace’s ISO certifications, how the cost model for Workplace is totally different to Facebook, how you are the Data Owner and how all the big companies have had their brushes with data privacy controversy. It’s a well practiced speech (and I truly believe all of it) but for most of that 10%, the die is already cast and nothing I say will change their view that Facebook is just after their work data as well as their personal.
So this is an attempt by Facebook to create further distinction between the brands and platforms.
For us, we need to think about how it will impact our Workplace instance and so I guinea pigged my Coolr colleagues and migrated us at the first opportunity. I broke our things so that you didn’t have to.
And the good news is….. everything just worked. Honestly, I had planned on selling a “Coolr migration preparation” package but it’s hard to sell a support package when the underlying process is so smooth and simple. Well done Facebook – grrrrrrrr.
Let’s have a quick look at what’s involved. If you’re an admin of your Workplace instance, you’ve probably already seen this notification:
This was added to all Workplace instances on March 25th. The “Learn More” button takes you to an excellent FAQ, while the “Admin Panel” button takes you to the preferences subsection of the admin pages:
Which now has a new, big toggle at the top. Flick that to “yes”, hit save…and you’re done!
Now, your users will see this notification the next time they access Workplace:
And will be automatically redirected to https://yourCompany.workplace.com. No need to re-sign in (admins do need to log in again the next time they access the admin panel), no scary alerts or errors. I’ve tested this in both SSO and “Password” (Facebook’s login mechanism) environments and they both work equally well. Facebook have even taken the time to setup redirects so that anyone accessing https://yourCompany.facebook.com is redirected to the correct URL.
Facebook have advised us that these redirects will be in place “for around six months” which will give you time to talk to your people and get all of those bookmarks and documents updated.
It’s also worth noting that Facebook have said companies will automatically be migrated after six months. Clearly it’s better to migrate now and have the redirects in place, than wait six months and be automatically migrated just as the redirects are being removed.
Finally, if you do hit any issues, Facebook have been kind enough to give us a backout (something rather rare in this Cloud focused world we now operate in). Once enabled, the toggle in the admin panel remains – so you can flick it back to “off”. Your users will get a similar notification and the redirects are even reversed, so https://yourCompany.workplace.com will be redirected to https://yourCompany.facebook.com:
All of the generic URLs work under both domains:
https://graph.facebook.com = https://graph.workplace.com
https://www.facebook.com/scim = https://www.workplace.com/scim
https://work.facebook.com = https://work.workplace.com
And the experience is equally smooth on mobile and desktop.
In fact, the only problem I’ve encountered so far is a cyber squatter who’s registered worklace.com. I stumbled over it when I fat-fingered the URL during testing. Currently there isn’t anything at that address, but it wouldn’t be hard for a malicious actor to activate it and cause some mischief.
One thing to note is that Facebook have said that you don’t need to change any SSO config “at the moment”. The inference being that you may need to in future. I’ve asked for further clarification on this point and will update this blog once I have it.
So the migration is easy, quick and painless for your users. Kudos Facebook! If you would like any support, feel free to reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, but if I were you I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a go yourself.
Update 01/04/19: WhenWorkplace sends you an email, for example “Joe Bloggs just posted something really interesting – go have a look https://yourCompany.facebook.com” the email is still pointing to *.facebook.com post-migration