This morning, Facebook opened its new Singapore office.
Located at Marine One, the new office space will house Facebook’s Singapore and regional team.
The opening was graced by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Chng Kai Fong, Chief Executive of the IMDA, Tan Kiat How, and Mayor of Central Singapore CDC, Denise Phua.
“Asia Pacific is incredibly important to Facebook. Out of the 2.2 billion people who are on our platform monthly, 894 million are here in Asia Pacific,” said Dan Neary, Vice President of Asia Pacific, Facebook.
He added, “Facebook set up shop here in Singapore about 10 years ago. […] Singapore is key to our continued growth in the region, and we are honored to work with and support some incredible partners in the public and private sector to drive Singapore’s economic, innovation, and community goals.”
The office occupies 4 floors of the building, and is approximately 260,000 sq ft big.
“We have workspaces for about 3,000 employees. Right now, we have a little bit over a thousand, so still plenty of opportunities for us to grow and expand,” said Neary.
Given how huge the office is, ‘wayfinders’ are also located around the space, acting as a “digital office compass” that lets staff and visitors locate meeting rooms, people’s desks, as well as office amenities.
The new office is also home to Facebook’s first partner centre in Asia, where “partners will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Facebook’s company mission, vision and culture, and explore new growth opportunities for their business”.
There are currently 7 Facebook partner centres around the world, and all meeting rooms are named after “things that go well together”.
For example, Singapore’s partner centre has meeting rooms named “You Tiao & Soya Bean”, “Auntie and Uncle”, and “Mermaid and Lion”.
The walls of the new Facebook office are also adorned by the works of Asian artists under their Artist in Residence (AIR) programme, which “brings in a diverse range of artists from Singapore and across Asia Pacific to create work on the campus as a means to energise, inspire, and challenge the community”.
There are currently a total of 18 art pieces at the Marina One office, and some of the artists include Tristan Lim, Tan Zi Xi (Messy Msxi), Mithra Jeevanathan, Nicola Anthony, Liquan Liew and Estella Ng (RIPPLEROOT,) and Farizwan Fajari (SpeakCryptic).
Another interesting thing to note is that the ceilings and the floors of the office have also been “purposefully left undone”.
“We do that to remind ourselves that our journey is still really early on – we are 1% done,” explained Neary.
In addition to the opening of the new Marina One office, Facebook also launched its first data centre in Asia in Singapore just last month, the result of an investment of more than S$1.4 billion.
Another recent announcement was that of a newly established Singapore-based product engineering team, which will be building ad products “that serve Asia-first but will drive impact globally”.
Said Mr. Chng Kai Fong, Managing Director, EDB, “Every year, more and more people in Asia are using smartphones to pay their bills, shop online, and connect to the world. Facebook and Singapore are partners at the heart of this growth.”
With Facebook setting up its first product engineering team for Asia in Singapore, Singaporeans will have opportunities to work with the very best to develop product engineering know-how. Singaporean businesses will also benefit from innovation done here to better market their products and services to the world.
“We Are Deeply Apologetic” – On Security Breach That Involved 50 Million Accounts
Lastly, to address the elephant in the room, Neary also acknowledged the massive hack that happened over the weekend, where nearly 50 million accounts were affected.
It was also reported to be the biggest breach in the company’s history.
“Once we recognised this, we immediately shut it down,” said Neary.
“We immediately took the impacted accounts, which […] we believed to be somewhere around 50 million, and we logged them out. By logging them out, what happens is when they log back in, they’ll get a new security token, so people don’t need to reset their password.”
There were no accessed passwords, there were no accessed financial information. But if you reset the security token, it actually resolves the issue.
“We also took a very conservative call and we […] logged out [those who accessed the ‘view as’ feature over the course of the last year] as well, just to be safe. And that was roughly another 40 to 50 million plus accounts on top of that.”
We are deeply apologetic for this, [but] we are excited about the fact that we actually discovered it and were able to shut it down. But it shouldn’t happen in the first place – and so, we apologise for that. We think we can do better.
Launch Of Startup Station Singapore
Today’s event also saw the launch of Startup Station Singapore, a six-month programme to support “innovative data-driven startups that are developing the next generation of business solutions today”.
Launched in partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore, the programme is Facebook’s second data innovation startup programme globally after France.
“Southeast Asia is home to some of the most exciting startups in the world. We’re thrilled to support a new generation of regional startups who have the potential to create jobs and grow the economy,” said Alvin Tan, Head of Public Policy ASEAN, Facebook.
Added Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA, “We are happy to work with industry partners such as Facebook who will help enrich our start-up ecosystem by bringing its expertise in key Digital Economy areas such as Artificial Intelligence, product innovation and data protection with a global approach.”
“Coupled with our strong push to develop data collaboratives and data sharing frameworks, this ensures that Singapore continues to be an attractive location for start-ups to site their data-driven projects, test innovative ideas, develop solutions and springboard into new markets.”
The programme will offer participating startups mentorship and networking opportunities, training, and Facebook programmes and resources.
It will also give them access to a regulatory sandbox facilitated by IMDA, which will let them have the chance to develop their products through the use of data in a live environment.
Startup Station Singapore is due to kick off in February 2019, and is open to any growth stage, data-driven startup with “established business model and datasets that are looking to scale their business”.
Startups can either be based in Singapore or within Southeast Asia, and interested parties can visit fb.me/startupstationsingapore to find out more.
Applications will close on 7 December, 2018.