Facebook is launching official operations in Israel : The company has hired the Shalom TELAVIV public relations firm, owned by Zamir Dahbash and Rinat Friedman, to serve as its media advisor in Israel as part of the social network's future activities in the country.
The Israeli office will work with the company's PR personnel in Facebook's headquarters in London, which is responsible for the company's activity in Europe and the Middle East.
This is an important strategic move for the company, which aims to deepen its presence in Israel and may even pave the way for the opening of Facebook offices in Israel, although there are no concrete expectations for that just yet.
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What does Facebook want to achieve by hiring Israeli media advisors? Basically the same things it is trying to achieve in other countries. Apart from being a social network with more than one billion users around the world, Facebook is trying to strengthen its status among other audiences, led by the community of startups and developers.
The social network seeks to portray itself as a favored platform for developers of applications and developers in general, and encourage them to develop their products first of all for Facebook – in a bid to have as many companies as possible developing applications and games connected to Facebook.
Many Israeli companies already develop Facebook games and Facebook gambling applications, for example. The social network reported in the past that five of the 10 fastest growing Facebook games were developed by Israelis. The main tool in achieving this goal will be increasing the number of developers' conferences the company initiates and participates in Israel.
Facebook has already held a number of developers' conferences in Israel, but has kept a low media profile. Now the company seeks to increase its exposure in a bid to reach as many developers and entrepreneurs as possible. According to estimates, Facebook will hold a major developers' conference in Israel in the coming months.
The Israel connectionAnother goal is boosting the number of Israeli advertisers and marketers on the social network. Facebook is working vigorously to increase the number of organizations advertising on its platform, also in order to compete against Google in Israel's online advertising market.
One of the objectives of its activity here, therefore, will be to increase the exposure of marketers and advertisers in Israel to the options of advertising on its platform and boosting ad sales. The Facebook office in Dublin already has a team in charge of contacting Israeli companies, large and small, interested in advertising on the social network.
A further goal is to maintain the power of the Facebook brand among consumers and users in Israel, through publications and articles on the media as well. That won't be particularly difficult: The social network's penetration rates in Israel are very high today, with more than four million active Israeli Facebook users.
Facebook's move also means that for the first time, media outlets in Israel will have a local representative to turn to with questions, clarifications and requests for responses related to the social media's coverage.
This is the social network's first official activity in Israel, but Facebook's connection to Israel is not new. In the past, the company signed an agreement with the Nana 10 website for selling advertisements on the social network's homepage. It was also reported recently that the company was recruiting engineers in Israel for its main headquarters in Menlo Park.
In addition, Mark Zuckerberg's company has already acquired two Israeli companies – Snaptu and Face.com – and even held advanced talks to purchase Israeli navigation startup Waze.