Facebook set to hire 1,000 staff in post-Brexit London

The social media giant is growing its biggest centre outside the US as it tries to restore its reputation.

    Facebook's decision to expand its UK base has been welcomed by the prime minister [Johanna Geron/Illustration/Reuters]
    Facebook's decision to expand its UK base has been welcomed by the prime minister [Johanna Geron/Illustration/Reuters]

    The uncertainty surrounding the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union appears not to have fazed Facebook, which is set to hire 1,000 staffers in London this year.

    The social media giant is looking to recruit in roles such as product development and safety as it continues to grow its biggest engineering centre outside the United States.

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    More than half the new jobs will be in technology, including software engineering and data science, Facebook's vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn, told Reuters news agency.

    Other roles will be in the "community integrity" team, which makes products to detect and remove harmful content from platforms like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

    Mendelsohn said London's appeal was not only in its technology ecosystem but also the strength of its creative industries.

    She said that while Facebook's enthusiasm for London was undimmed, like other tech companies it wanted certainty about Brexit.

    "The Johnson government has been very clear about what that looks like, and so we will continue to invest here in London," she said.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Facebook's growth was "great news".

    "We are committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online, alongside being one of the best places for technology companies to be based," he said.

    Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will announce the new jobs, which will take its total UK employees to more than 4,000, on Tuesday before leaving for the World Economic Forum in Davos with Mendelsohn, where they will meet global leaders, regulators and other business chiefs.

    The company is trying to rebuild trust in its platforms after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, in which a British political consulting firm collected data from Facebook for voter profiling and targeting.

    Nick Clegg, Facebook's public affairs chief and a former British deputy prime minister, said on Monday that the company would do a better job of preventing bad actors from manipulating this year's US presidential election than it did four years ago.

    Mendelsohn also said trust would take time to rebuild.

    "We also understand that this is an ongoing important conversation - we want to be part of that conversation," she said. "We want to be working with policymakers in this area to get to thoughtful policy."

    Facebook - Reuters
    Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said trust in the tech giant would take a long time to rebuild after the Cambridge Analytica scandal [Toby Melville/Reuters]

    SOURCE: News agencies