Inside Facebook Headquarters

Most of us interact with Facebook through a computer or mobile device, often multiple times a day, sometimes perhaps too often. Seeking a different perspective, I made several visits to explore what Facebook looks like behind the scenes, specifically at its European headquarters in Ireland.

On my first visit, we had a meeting, which was accompanied by a tour of the premises.

The Dublin offices, located at Grand Canal Square 4, house approximately 1,500 employees. One of the first things that struck me was the young average age of the staff, ranging between 25 and 30 years old. This was particularly heartening to see during times of significant youth unemployment, especially in Italy. However, the number of Italians working at Facebook here is relatively small.

Landing a job at Facebook is the dream of many young tech enthusiasts, but it’s not for everyone. The selection process involves numerous international interviews.

The offices are modern open spaces, with rooms dedicated to sports and leisure, emulating the classic Silicon Valley American style. There are no strict working hours for employees; what matters is that everyone completes their work to a high standard. This Irish headquarters manages all of Facebook’s tools, and among the areas accessible to visitors are Instagram, Oculus, and Aquila, the experimental solar-powered super drone project that concluded recently as aerospace manufacturers begin to design and build High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS).

I was delighted to accept an invitation to dine at Facebook’s exclusive restaurant, a large school cafeteria-style setup offering an all-you-can-eat-and-drink experience to employees. The buffet offers a wide selection of food, and while the taste of the “international” cuisine is not the main focus in such a setting, the unique atmosphere of the youthful environment takes precedence.

What’s Your Story?

One aspect I’m particularly interested in learning about companies – and people – is their story.
On the sixth floor of Facebook’s building, there’s an area dedicated to companies that have grown their business through the platform, featuring three infographic stations highlighting this aspect.
A multi-display chronicles the history of Facebook Inc. from 2004, detailing all its major developments over the years, including:

  • 2006: Facebook opens to everyone
  • 2011: Launch of Messenger and Timeline
  • 2012: Acquisition of Instagram
  • 2014: Acquisition of Oculus and WhatsApp

The entire environment is very easygoing and friendly, just as one would expect, and this is reflected in the unconventional dress code of its employees. Many are seen in shorts, and while there’s little emphasis on appearance, I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover after encountering many “beautiful covers” lacking substance.

We all know the story of Facebook, but beyond the reductive view from a screen, there are thousands of talents vigorously propelling a revenue-generating powerhouse that employs tens of thousands of people. It provides a tool for staying in contact that is used today by billions of people worldwide.