Facebook to open huge data center in Utah

A stock image shows a man in a data center | Photo by gorodenkoff/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Facebook is coming to the “Silicon Slopes.”

The social media giant will build a nearly 1 million-square-foot data center in Utah that officials say will bring millions of dollars to the region. Gov. Gary Herbert predicted the new center would lead to more than $850 million in financial investment and infrastructure projects in the region.

Herbert and other state officials unveiled plans for the project Wednesday, which will be 40 miles south of Salt Lake City in Eagle Mountain. Utah County had previously approved $150 million in tax incentives for the project without divulging the company’s identity.

State officials said the project would represent massive property taxes and infrastructure improvements for the area.

“It is a significant opportunity,” Herbert said. “I don’t know if we can actually quantify all the benefits that are going to come to not only Eagle Mountain but Utah Valley and the state as a region.”

John Knotwell, CEO of the Utah Technology Council, said Facebook coming to Utah is a “win for the state and the region” because of the company’s name recognition.

“Utah’s vibrant workforce, attractive quality of life and commitment to collaboration are making Utah a hive of growth and a magnet for tech in the country,” Knotwell said. “This is one more step in the future
of this community. There is true value in creating or relocating a company here.”

Facebook’s head of data center strategy, Rachel Peterson, said the company picked the site because of the availability of renewable energy, local workforce and community support.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the next month and the center is slated to open in 2020. There will be a full-time staff of 30-50 people at the center.

Utah had previously tried to lure Facebook to suburban Salt Lake City in 2016, but the deal fell apart when some local leaders called the offer from West Jordan too generous.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • utahdiablo May 30, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Oh, for facebook to store all the Data Facebook doesn’t collect on us?….

    • DarthZeiler May 31, 2018 at 1:48 am

      Really? Facebook is a social network… with over 2 billion users. Due to the nature of a social network, they have to collect data on you… data you voluntarily submit, what apps you use that integrate with Facebook, what FB groups you follow, what FB pages you like, what product and service reviews you have posted through FB, etc… all of which can be used to predict what you might be interested in, for advertising purposes. If you read their TOS, Privacy Policy, etc, they are quite clear about this… but alas, you, like most probably don’t bother reading those because they are “too long and confusing”, when in reality, they are pretty clear.

      Facebook also gives you the option to set in your privacy settings to not get targeted ads. You still will see ads if you set that, but they wont be targeted based on what Facebook thinks you might be interested in.

      Collecting data, and sharing it with others are two entirely different things. Sure, their was the Cabridge Anylitica scandal, but that was not Facebook’s problem to be honest. Everyone blamed Facebook, but in reality, every single person who’s data was compromised in that scandal had either voluntarily submitted it to Cambridge Anylitica, or unknowingly joined a group that shared data with them. As soon as Facebook found out that they violated their data gathering and usage policies, they banned them, and any page/app linked to them.

      Point is, the nature of a social network means they have to collect some information on you, even if that info is not shared with third parties (due to you saying NO in your privacy settings, or because of their policies), and that data requires network infrastructure, databases, servers, backup servers, and for a company of Facebook’s size, backup servers for the backup servers. It is so much data that is not counted in Gigabytes, or even Terabytes, but Petabytes. Of course they would need HUGE data centers for that.

      • DarthZeiler May 31, 2018 at 1:54 am

        Oh, also note, Facebook is a free service for users… how do you think they make their money? They are a business after all. It is free for you, but they charge businesses for things like ads, running promotions, and other marketing services. That is why they are valued so high on the stock market. If they had absolutely no way to make money, they would be worth nothing… and a company worth nothing goes out of business. Same as how Google makes most of their money… selling ads on things like search results and YouTube videos… and the ads on most of those things are targeted as well, based on what sites you have visited, what products you have researched, your past search history, etc. These tech companies that give you free services have to make money some how, and that usually means ads, and demographic information being used to target those ads. Does that mean the person paying for the ad gets your info? No, not at all. They tell Google, or Facebook, what type of people they want to target with their ad, and how much they are willing to pay, either per click or per million views, then Google or Facebook use demographic information to target the audience the paying advertiser requested. The advertiser never sees your info, unless you click the ad, and voluntarily submit your info to them.

      • comments May 31, 2018 at 11:05 am

        hahahah, are some kind of spokeman for FB. Just so you all know, FB builds a lifetime database on its users. Anything you upload, any post, photo, video, etc stays in this database forever. You can not have it removed from their database. They save all this data on you for the prospect of making money in the future or selling the data. They also have a cozy relationship with gov’t intelligence and have contracts to sell them data. Anything you upload to FB is never removed. They save it forever. Data harvesting and “targeted advertising” is how they make their $$$ off people, at least for now. God knows what they may do with all this data in the future. I’d never ever trust a data harvesting company like FB. Just don’t upload anything you’ll ever want removed because FB will ALWAYS retain a copy of it.

        • DarthZeiler May 31, 2018 at 10:24 pm

          Loving your paranoia… but guess what? Facebook and any large website based in the US that you have to log into, and even your ISP, is LEGALLY required to share your info with the government if they receive an official subpoena. Hate to burst your bubble there. Also, those subpoena’s also usually come with gag orders stating they cannot tell you your information has been turned over to the government. ISPs receive those every day. How do I know? I work in the industry. No, not for FB, or any company partnered with FB.

          By the way, most companies, Facebook included if I remember correctly, recently changed their policies to be in compliance with a new European law (as they want to do business in Europe), stating that if a user requests their info be deleted, the company must permanently and irreversibly delete that data. So, yeah, your wrong there too. Don’t like Facebook or services that store your data long term? Don’t use them. But good luck doing anything on the Internet, including posting comments to sites like this one, as your IP address, which can be used to identify you will be stored permanently unless someone manually deletes it from the database.

          • comments June 1, 2018 at 2:28 pm

            Not anything i’m not already aware of. What makes you believe these european laws will apply to US customers? I don’t do much w/ FB, unfortunately I use gmail and related services, and i’m fully aware they harvest data and build a profile on me. FB is primarily a data harvesting and marketing operation. it is what it is. No idea why you feel they are worth defending in any respect. I’d never defend google. We have no privacy online. We sacrifice it for convenience. It may come back to bite us one day. Oh well.

          • DarthZeiler June 2, 2018 at 9:58 pm

            Technically you’re right in one respect. As U.S. customers, they do not have to follow the European laws with U.S. Customers… but, it is Mich more efficient and cost effective to apply the same policies to all users, so most likely, most companies will do exactly that. And I am not necessarily defending FB. Just stating the facts as they are currently.

  • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    So it can cosy even closer to the Russians.

    • John May 31, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Your critical thinking is broken !

  • Badshitzoo June 1, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Right On! I hope they partner up with the NSA who also have a giant data center here! The counter terrorism possibilities will be amazing!

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