Facebook to open office near Harvard campus

Nov 7, 2013, 5:53 PM

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – Facebook confirmed Thursday that it is opening a Boston-area office just a couple of miles from where the website was founded in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University dorm room.

The announcement came almost a year and a half after a top Massachusetts politician asked the social media giant to relocate to the state where the seeds of company were first sown. Facebook’s headquarters is in Menlo Park, Calif.

The team, which will be in Cambridge, the town just outside Boston where Harvard is located, will focus on infrastructure projects in areas including storage, networking, security, and language runtimes.

“The tech community here is world class, from the incredible academic institutions to the vibrant startup ecosystem to the bevy of global companies who have teams here,” said Ryan Mack, who will lead the office. “We are thrilled to have found a new home here and hope we can help the community continue to thrive.”

Mack and a couple of other Facebook employees have been in the Boston area for a couple of years, working “from a series of coffee shops, libraries, and co-working spaces,” including a basement in Chinatown, he said.

Mack is an infrastructure engineer who played key roles in the development of Facebook’s Timeline and Photos projects.

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo welcomed the news.

DeLeo, a Democrat from Winthrop, outside Boston, wrote an open letter to Zuckerberg in May 2012, asking him to return to Massachusetts, citing the state’s tech-friendly business environment and financial health.

A Facebook staffer referenced the letter in an email to the speaker’s office Wednesday, but DeLeo said he did not know whether Zuckerberg ever saw it. The letter stated that while California had great strengths, a lot had changed in Massachusetts in the years since Facebook left.

“The message that we have sent out, not only in this state but out of state and even out of the country, is that Massachusetts is the place to be,” DeLeo said at a news conference Thursday. “As an innovator or as an entrepreneur, this is the place to be.”

DeLeo said he did not know how many people would be working in the Cambridge office.

Facebook has about 1.2 billion users worldwide.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Facebook to open office near Harvard campus