Some tech-sector insiders had predicted that Facebook would relocate to the Old Street area, adding global exposure to the growing buzz surrounding the East London creative hub dubbed the ‘Silicon Roundabout’.  

Several leading technology companies (spotify, and Yammer) already have their offices and studios in Shoreditch, forming a creative cluster that has also been described as London’s Tech-City.

However the Facebook’s Soho-based operation will instead be moving to a 36,000 square-foot listed building in Covent Garden, WC2. So far the leading new media corporations Microsoft, Google and Twitter have all chosen not to base their UK headquarters in the Hoxton area.

Facebook UK will be moving into the large renovated space spanning three floors, when the new commercial lease starts in January 2012 - marking four years after renting their initial office close to Carnaby Street, W1F in Soho.

Joanna Shields, the company’s vice-president and MD of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), confirmed that the firm has plans to add to its 70 UK-based employees, with recruitment focused on advertising and sales disciplines.

Commenting on Facebook’s continued growth, Sheilds said “We are delighted to be expanding our operations in the UK with a move to a larger office in Central London next year.”

Shields has only recently joined Facebook in 2010, after serving just a few months at Shine, Elisabeth Murdoch’s production company. However, she is a seasoned pioneer within the social networking sector. In 2008, whilst president of Bebo, Shields masterminded its sale to AOL for $850m.

Facebook’s UK office focuses mainly on advertising sales, while all of the major product development continues in the US headquarters.