Facebook to open office near Harvard campus

(FILES)This February 25, 2013 photo taken in Washington, DC, shows the splash page for the Internet social media giant Facebook. Those Facebook 'likes' can reveal a lot more than you think. Research released March 11, 2013 shows patterns from these Facebook preferences can provide surprisingly accurate estimates of the user's race, age, IQ, sexuality and other personal information. The researchers developed an algorithm which uses Facebook likes -- which are publicly available unless a user chooses stronger privacy settings -- to create personality profiles, potentially revealing a user's intimate details. These mathematical models proved 88 percent accurate for differentiating males from females and 95 percent accurate distinguishing African-Americans from whites. The algorithms were also able to extrapolate information such as sexual orientation, whether the user was a substance abuser, or even whether their parents had separated.AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER / FILES (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images) KAREN BLEIER

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Facebook (FB) confirmed Thursday that it is opening a Boston-area office in suburban Cambridge, 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 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 Boston 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.

"This announcement reinforces our state's standing as a place where innovators and technology companies want to be and positions us for further growth of our innovation economy," DeLeo said.

Facebook has about 1.2 billion users worldwide.

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