Facebook to Dump a Billion Into Virginia

Rumored Facebook censorship tool could open the door to China

These days it’s interesting being Facebook. Billions love you and use your services every day. But a growing number of users are angry about a growing number of issues they blame Facebook for. Whether it’s “fake news,” espionage, abusive posts, racism, unfair restrictions or not restricting enough, Facebook is facing a constant barrage of complaints.

But that isn’t stopping the company from attracting customers or expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint. According to multiple media reports, Facebook is planning to build a massive data center in Henrico County, just outside Richmond, Virginia.

This project is expected to bring more than a billion dollars into the state’s coffers. $750 million in new construction and $250 million doled out to multiple solar facilities that they plan to use to power the facility. Looks like Facebook is borrowing from Apple’s playbook for green energy on a massive scale.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is, understandably, overjoyed at the prospects, “Working with companies like Facebook and many others, we are advancing Virginia’s position as a global leader in the technology economy…”

And, it’s not just about the money. Facebook will create about 100 new jobs to help manage and run the data center.

For this investment, Facebook will receive, as incentives, about $19 million in state tax exemptions through 2035. Not a bad trade-off.

This news comes on the heels of announcements that Facebook also has a new $750 million data center in the works in Ohio. This adds to a list of current data centers in Oregon, North Carolina, and Iowa; as well as centers in Texas, New Mexico and New York that are already under construction.

So, Virginia and Ohio get big wins, news that has residents of many other states wondering how they can compete. The first step in answering that question should be to listen to what Facebook is saying. In a statement, Facebook’s director of data center strategy, Rachel Peterson, said: “One of the many important factors in our search for a new data center location is being able to source clean and renewable energy. We also look for great partnerships within the local community, robust infrastructure … and a strong pool of local talent…”

So, is this good news enough to know the advertising scandal off the front page and out of the tech news headlines? Not so far. Facebook is still dealing with a growing “love-hate” relationship with an expanding number of users.

While, at present, people are complaining, but also still enthusiastic about the social network, there could be a tipping point if the company can’t get past this ongoing scandal.

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