Zuckerberg Visits Moscow, Not Building Offices There
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Zuck´s gone to Russia, but not to scope out new locations for Facebook´s operations, according to news reports. Instead, this appears to be your basic trip to eastern Europe: Snap a picture in Red Square, eat at an American fast food restaurant and have a meeting with the Prime Minister.
During a Monday visit in Moscow, Zuckerberg sat down with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss Facebook´s presence in Russia, though not necessarily a new office location.
“Medvedev and Zuckerberg have discussed Facebook’s possible presence in Russia not only as a social network, but also as a company that deals with the most advanced products. They have also discussed Skolkovo as a place where startups could be of mutual interest,” said the Prime Minister´s press secretary, Natalya Timakova, speaking with reporters.
“Russia has a strong developer community that has been making great use of the Facebook platform,” said a spokesperson with Facebook.
“A number of gaming companies in particular are building their businesses in Russia thanks to the global audience they reach through Facebook.”
One early story by the Associated Press reported that Medvedev had pushed Zuckerberg into opening a Facebook branch in his country. This misunderstanding can be blamed on simple, poor translation. Russian Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov sent out a Tweet today following the meeting which read: “U @MedvedevRussia agreed with Zuckerberg, it is more profitable to open a research and development center in Russia Facebook.”
The Tweet also included a picture of the Prime Minister and senior hoodie-wearer cheesing it up for the camera.
Nikiforov used Twitter again to correct another publication for misunderstanding the quote and running with the story that Facebook could build offices there.
Instead, Zuckerberg was on hand in Russia as a part of a worldwide tour of programming contests, looking for prospective Facebook employees, as well as to do his part to convert the rest of the world to the gospel of The Book. Unlike their position of power in the United States, Facebook has some competition in Russia from other social networking sites.
According to CNET, Zuckerberg plans to spend several days in Moscow, taking a few meetings as well as attending several public engagements and functions.
Medvedev was quite giddy to meet the creator of Facebook, according to the Guardian, telling Zuckerberg, “I have a Facebook page myself.”
Zuckerberg even gave the Prime Minister of Russia a tee-shirt with his Facebook domain written across it in the iconic Facebook blue.
The Prime Minister´s press secretary mentioned the two also briefly talked American politics:
“Dmitry Medvedev joked whether he got it right that Barack Obama will apparently win, since he has far more followers than Mitt Romney.”
Zuckerberg then mentioned that he had no idea his creation would play into any political race when he first created The Facebook all those years ago.