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Facebook to expand in UK in latest vote of confidence after Brexit

LONDON Nov 21 Facebook said it would expand its UK presence by 50 percent in 2017, joining U.S. technology peer Google in boosting investment in Britain despite the uncertainty sparked by the vote to leave the European Union.

Social network firm Facebook said it would hire 500 new staff, adding to the 1,000 people it already employs in Britain, as it gears up to open a new headquarters in London next year.

Before the Brexit referendum in June, pro-Remain campaigners had warned that international companies could seek to reduce their presence in Britain as withdrawing from the EU would make it a less attractive place to invest.

But Facebook said on Monday that was not the case.

"The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company and is an important part of Facebook's story," Europe, Middle East and Africa vice-president Nicola Mendelsohn will say at a conference run by the CBI, an employers group, later on Monday.

Facebook's expansion comes after Google, owned by parent company Alphabet Inc, said earlier in November that it would invest in thousands of extra engineers as part of its move to a new London building.

Britain is also benefiting from the growth of online retailer Amazon, which expects to create 3,500 UK jobs in 2016, including at its head office, research and development centres, customer service centres and distribution depots.

It plans a further 2,300 at three new distribution centres in 2017.

Facebook said many of its new jobs would be in the high-skilled engineering sector.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)

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