Facebook to set up international HQ in Dublin


FACEBOOK CONFIRMED Ireland as a friend yesterday with the announcement that it will establish its international headquarters in Dublin.

The social network said Dublin will be the centre for its international operations and provide technical, sales and operations support to users and customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Although the investment is being supported by IDA Ireland, no details were forthcoming on the size of the investment or the number of jobs being created. Last night Green Party spokeswoman on enterprise, trade and employment Mary White said the move would create 70 jobs.

The Facebook website last night listed a number of vacancies at its Dublin operations. The roles were primarily in operations and human resources. The social networking giant is also seeking an international legal counsel to be based in Dublin.

The job listings suggest Facebook is initially going to support the French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch, Turkish and Israeli markets from Dublin. It is also seeking staff with Arabic language skills.

In establishing a presence in Dublin, the website follows in the footsteps of other leading internet-based firms including Google, eBay and Yahoo!, which all have offices in the capital.

Industry sources suggested Facebook chief operating officer and ex-Google executive Sheryl Sandberg was instrumental in the decision, as she was aware how successful Google's Dublin operation had been. The same source said that although Facebook would focus on sales and operations, it planned to pursue product development here in future. The firm has found it difficult and expensive to hire programmers at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

"We looked at a number of different locations and ultimately decided that Dublin was the best pick for a couple of different reasons," Facebook's chief of online operations Don Faul told The Irish Times. "One is that it has got a really strong, multilingual talent pool which will really help us grow and scale and ultimately get closer to our users, advertisers and developers in the region. In addition, the Irish Government has a long track record of being a great partner for global companies as they scale their international operations," he added.

Mr Faul refused to be drawn on speculation as to how many positions would be created as a result of the move, other than to say the firm "would be starting small".

Established in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is one of the world's most popular social networking sites, with about 100 million users.

Facebook has reportedly about 308,000 users here.