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Facebook opens office dedicated to Middle East, North Africa

Facebook has opened up operations at its new Dubai offices, aimed specifically at expanding its operations in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

In a statement made at a press conference in the Gulf emirate, the social network said that its Mena team “will work with brands across the region to help them harness the power of the world’s largest social network”.

Joanna Shields, Facebook’s vice president and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the network has some “45 million users” in the region, adding that the main thrust of the regional office was to “share our experience”.

“We already have strong partners in the region that are using Facebook in innovative ways to achieve and realise the power of social,” said Jonathan Labin, who will be heading the new office.

Facebook also has some serious advertising clients in the region including the Dubai-based Emirates airlines and the Doha head-quartered Al-Jazeera news network.

An increased presence in the region also makes sense when you consider the massive growth of Arabic on Facebook. According to stats recently released by research company SpotOn PR, Arabic now accounts for 39% of Facebook posts in the Middle East, putting it ahead of English and French.

If Facebook’s Mena office gets the right local knowledge in, it can tap into the regional market far more effectively, draw in lucrative advertisers make sure that people see the right kind of ads from those advertisers.