Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is growing primarily outside of San Francisco because the infrastructure of the city is ‘tapped’

  • After The Verge released leaked audio from a Facebook Q&A, CEO Mark Zuckerberg livestreamed one of the sessions.
  • He responded to a question about remote work by explaining that the company is primarily growing outside of the Bay Area.
  • The median home price is San Francisco is $1.3 million, making it one of the most expensive cities in the country.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees in a public Q&A on Thursday that the social media company plans to expand primarily outside the Bay Area.

One employee had asked Zuckerberg about the possibility of remote work. In response, he said that Facebook believes in the importance of large hubs for engineers, but the company is planning to grow outside of the Bay Area.

"The infrastructure here is really, really, tapped," he said. He mentioned high housing costs and bad traffic as other limits to growth in the area.

San Francisco is the most expensive city in the United States for home buyers, with a median price for a single-family home at $1.3 million, a 329% increase since 2000. Average rents are more than $1,700, and the average one-bedroom apartment goes for $3,700 per month. 

San Francisco's housing woes are partially due to a lack of supply — 40% of housing in the city was built before 1940, and 80% was built before 1980. Reluctance to tear down historic homes to make room for more dense housing has led to high prices and a severe shortage of affordable housing, and one of the worst homelessness crises in the country.

Without accessible housing, people are leaving the Bay Area. SFGate reported that although San Francisco had a net increase in population between 2010 and 2018, most of the population growth came from international immigration, while domestically more people actually left the city than moved there. 

Zuckerberg finished answering the question about remote work by mentioning his long-term goals for augmented reality would allow people to work together wherever they are physically, removing the need for people to live in areas like San Francisco in order to work at Facebook.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg reacted to the leaked transcript of his internal meeting by promoting it on his Facebook page

Mark Zuckerberg publicly livestreamed his usually private employee Q&A session on Thursday, after The Verge released leaked audio from a July Q&A of an all-hands Facebook meeting. In the leaked audio, CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the platform's hate speech policies, the possibility of breaking up big tech, and Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency plans.

Leaks are a major break in Facebook company culture, a company where meeting content is generally kept private, despite the company employing 40,000 people.

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