Facebook Doubling London Footprint Amid Brexit Tensions

Facebook is doubling its footprint in the capital of the United Kingdom amid tensions stemming from the country's efforts to leave the European Union, possibly discouraging future foreign investments in its economy. While the technology industry's reaction to Brexit remains a topic of many debates, Facebook won't be among the companies pulling out of the UK or even stopping its British investments due to the unprecedented political move, with the social media giant now announcing it acquired almost 600,000 square feet (56,000 square meters) of new office space spanning two King's Cross buildings that it intends to add to its operations in the immediate future.

The Menlo Park, California-based firm hasn't disclosed how many jobs it expects to create in London so as to utilize its newly purchased property, though the offices themselves are estimated to be capable of housing approximately 6,000 workstations. Facebook employed 800 more individuals in the London area over the course of 2017 and previously said it expects its local workforce to reach 2,300 people by the end of 2018. In a prepared statement, Facebook's Northern Europe chief Steve Hatch said the newly announced move is meant to send a non-ambiguous message about the company's expansion plans on the Old Continent, i.e. signal its continued commitment to investments in London and the UK as a whole.

Facebook recently found itself under fire from British legislators due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, as well as a widespread misinformation campaign using its platform that foreign agents financed in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit vote, possibly influencing the ultimate outcome of the close referendum. The UK is now set to leave the EU by next spring after triggering the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in late March of 2017. And while London is still grilling Facebook executives over the company's struggles to combat fake news, concerns about the implications a "hard Brexit" could have on the British economy continue to rise, with no major trade agreements with the EU being reached to date.

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