Facebook to bring 800 more jobs to London as new office unveiled

A large logo is seen at Facebook’s headquarters in London, Britain, Dec. 4, 2017. (Reuters/Toby Melville)
Updated 05 December 2017
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Facebook to bring 800 more jobs to London as new office unveiled

LONDON: Facebook has opened its new London office and said it will create 800 high-tech jobs in the UK over the next year, demonstrating its commitment to the country as it prepares to leave the EU.
The new office will also feature an incubator space called LDN-LAB aimed at supporting UK-based tech startups.
The selected companies will take part in three-month programs where they will work with Facebook experts in areas such as engineering or product development to kickstart their businesses.
“Today’s announcements show that Facebook is more committed than ever to the UK and in supporting the growth of the country’s innovative startups,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, vice-president of Facebook EMEA.
More than 2,300 people are expected to be working for Facebook in the UK by the end of 2018. Over half of those in the London hub will be focused on engineering, ensuring the office will be Facebook’s biggest hub outside of the US.
Facebook’s UK plans will be welcome news to those concerned about London losing its appeal as a technological and financial hub following Brexit.
“It is great to see a world-leading company like Facebook continuing to invest in London’s renowned tech ecosystem, despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit,” said Julia David, CEO of techUK.
“Large businesses are key to supporting innovation and we are excited to see what becomes of the startups that can grow and scale as a result of this endeavour. The message is clear: London is open, and tech is the flag bearer.”
The office, which opened on Monday, is based at Rathbone Place in London’s West End and is built across 247,000 square-feet and has seven floors.
The opening of the London operations follows the opening of Facebook’s new Middle East HQ in Dubai on Oct. 27. The 20,000-square-foot regional hub is part of the company’s commitment to expanding further into the Middle East and North African markets. The Dubai office has more than 60 employees. Facebook first launched a local presence in the MENA region in 2012 and since then it has grown its regional user base by 264 percent and has around 164 million monthly active people using its site from the region.
“With its strong business ecosystems, regional connectivity, and access to the best global talent, Dubai and the UAE remain the right place for us to call home in the region.
“We are only 1 percent finished in our journey here, and we are excited about what lies ahead in this young, connected, and mobile-first region,” Jonathan Labin, Facebook’s managing director for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, said at the time of the launch.
Staff working in the Dubai office will be able to work from a treadmill desk, take selfies from an “Instagram anti-gravity room” or admire works by Emirati artist Eman Al-Hashemi.


News anchors join New Zealand women wearing headscarves for mosque attack victims

Updated 22 March 2019
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News anchors join New Zealand women wearing headscarves for mosque attack victims

  • The AM Show news anchor Amanda Gillies said the gesture 'shows we are united'
  • Newsreaders began broadcasts with Islamic greetings

CHRISTCHURCH: News anchors in New Zealand joined women across the country in wearing headscarves as a show of solidarity on Friday for the victims of last week’s mosques shooting. 

The newsreaders covering the memorial events for the 50 people killed by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch, began broadcasts with Islamic greetings.

They included The AM Show news anchor Amanda Gillies, who said she agonized over whether to cover her hair with a peach-colored scarf.

"There's no way a week ago that I would have, because I would have thought it would have been deemed inappropriate, not right, that I was insulting the Muslim community," Gillies said.

"I'll be honest - I did angst over it today whether I should wear it, because I didn't want to be inappropriate or offend the Muslim community. But I know that they are so welcoming and accepting of it, and I know that a lot of women will wear it today because it just shows that we are united - the solidarity is there, the love and support is there."

Elsewhere, women across the country wore hijabs on an emotional day when the shocked  nation came together to remember those killed.

 A journalist wearing a headscarf as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks uses her phone before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. (Reuters)

Rafaela Stoakes, a 32-year-old mother of two, said wearing the Islamic head covering gave her an insight into what it means to stand out and feel part of the minority.

On Friday morning she covered all but a few locks of her dark chestnut-coloured hair in a loose red and white scarf, crossed neatly beneath her chin and tucked into a black hiking jacket.

She was one of many women embracing #HeadScarfforHarmony, to make a stand against the hate espoused by the Australian man who killed dozens of worshippers.

Headscarves were also worn as a mark of respect by policewomen and non-Muslim volunteers directing the crowds around the site in Christchurch holding communal prayers on Friday.

Many were wearing a headscarf for the first time.

"It is amazing how different I felt for the short time I was out this morning," Stoakes told AFP.

"There were a lot of confused looks and some slightly aggressive ones," she said.

"I did feel a sense of pride to honour my Muslim friends, but I also felt very vulnerable and alone as I was the only person wearing one."

"It must take a lot of courage to do this on a daily basis."

The gesture caught on nationwide -- in offices, schools and on the streets -- as well as at the ceremonies held in Christchurch to mark one week since the killings at the hands of a self-avowed white supremacist.

Women flooded Twitter, Facebook and other social media -- which played a key role in allowing the gunman to spread his message -- with their images.

Kate Mills Workman, a 19-year-old student from Wellington, posted a selfie on Twitter wearing a green headscarf.

"If I could I would be attending the mosque and standing outside to show my support for my Muslim whanau but I've got lectures and I can't really skip them," she told AFP, using a Maori language term for extended family.

"Obviously this is all spurred on by the terrible tragedy in Christchurch, but it's also a way of showing that any form of harassment or bigotry based on a symbol of religion is never okay," she added.

"As New Zealanders, we have to make a really strong stand."

Although the headscarf has been the subject of contentious debate over gender rights in the Islamic world, for Stoakes the day has been a lesson in how pious Muslim women often do not have the option to melt away into the background when they feel vulnerable.

"We can nod and pretend to agree with people who we are afraid of, or plead ignorance if we feel in danger of confrontation," she said.

"But a Muslim is just right out there. Like a bullseye. Their hijabs and clothing speak before they do."