Facebook gets rejected by CERN over data privacy concerns and high costs

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Facebook gets rejected by CERN over data privacy concerns and high costs
CERN rejects Facebook Workplace over data privacy and cost concernsCERN


  • CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has ended its partnership with Workplace by Facebook after a four-year trial period.
  • After Facebook introduced paid plans last year, CERN had the choice to either pay up and continue with its current plan or downgrade to the free version.
  • The free version would transfer the control of data to Facebook, a compromise that CERN felt was “unacceptable”.
  • The agency also claimed that paying for a tool that’s not integral to its community would not be justified.
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has shunned Workplace by Facebook over data privacy concerns. It has further demanded that the tech giant need to remove all its content off of the platform.

The agency claims that only 150 active users were using the app. This is a minuscule percentage of its 2,600 full-time employees and community of 18,000 users.

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"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," CERN said in a statement.

Facebook puts Workplace behind a paywall
Facebook opened up Workplace for everyone to use in 2016. "In particular, for CERN, [Workplace by Facebook] made the enticing offer of waiving the fees and so we took the opportunity to test the platform," CERN said in a statement.

Last year Facebook introduced new paid plans for its professional platforms, claiming that over 3 million users had subscribed in July 2019.

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According to the agency, Facebook offered CERN a choice. It could either continue by paying for the free setup or it could downgrade to the free version. The latter would remove administrative rights and give CERN sign-on access. The catch being that all data would be sent to Facebook.

Losing control over data is “unacceptable”
CERN decided that rather than lose control over its data, it would rather drop Facebook as its partner. It pointed out that it would be “unacceptable” to shell out money for a tool that’s not integral to the nuclear research agency.

"Last October, we announced an update to our pricing and packaging. As part of this, we started renewal conversations with some of our customers and we're sorry CERN is no longer trialling Workplace," said Facebook.

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The move is a loss for Facebook and not just commercially. Gaining an endorsement from CERN — which is known for high-end scientific research like super collider — would have bolstered its claims of being a reliable platform. The move ends a four-year trial period between the agency and the tech giant.

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