Facebook targets UK growth with 1,000 hires this year

Facebook is set to get some new "likes," after it announced it will create 1,000 new UK jobs this year - the year when Britain leaves the European Union.

Over half of the new roles will be in technology, including software engineering, and data science.

Facebook's vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn is excited by the company's growth in the UK, where the extra numbers will take the workforce to over 4,000 in total.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FACEBOOK VICE PRESIDENT FOR EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND AFRICA, NICOLA MENDELSOHN, SAYING:

"That's part of the bigger plan that we have for investing and continuing to invest here in the UK, where by 2021 we'll actually start to be into our new offices in Kings Cross and we have desk space there for up to 6,000 desks."

The technology sector has been amongst the most skeptical about UK investment post-Brexit, but Mendelsohn said Facebook has received reassurances from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that its business will be welcome.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FACEBOOK VICE PRESIDENT FOR EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND AFRICA, NICOLA MENDELSOHN, SAYING:

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

And on the question of whether Facebook had been damaged after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, she said the social media giant was working hard to rebuild trust.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FACEBOOK VICE PRESIDENT FOR EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND AFRICA, NICOLA MENDELSOHN, SAYING:

"So we've trebled the number of people that are working on our content moderation side, on our safety side to 35,000 people now. We've also increased our investments in the work on machine learning and artificial intelligence, billions and billions of dollars that we've invested in that area. And you see that through the work that we take down on things like terrorism, things like hate speech in these different areas."

Facebook has, she added, commissioned research to show the economic benefits it brings to businesses in Europe, suggesting that more than 3 million European jobs had been created as a result of people using its platform - while injecting 208 billion euros of economic value across the continent last year.