Facebook to host Cape Town hackathon

Cape Town - Facebook will host its first ever hackathon in Africa with a Cape Town event the global social network announced.

In September, US-based Facebook will host an event targeted at designers who may win the opportunity to work on the creative brief for the Loeries Creative Future Scholarship.

"Facebook is a platform that works best when creatives market for people, rather than at them," said Rob Newlan, head of Facebook Creative Shop Europe for Middle East and Africa.

Facebook is a globally popular social network with around 1.3 billion subscribers. Though the company has been criticised over privacy, it continues to grow exponentially.

The tie-in with the Loeries is aimed at cross-pollinating marketing skills that could also help Facebook refine its marketing offering to brands looking to reach an increasingly mobile and impatient audience.


"In this workshop, we hope to show how social media allows brands and creatives to play a powerful and positive role in people’s lives by engaging with them in imaginative ways," said Newlan.

In the US, reports suggest that fewer teens are using Facebook and the company has expressed concern about activity in key demographics.

From a marketing point of view, there may also be trouble for Facebook as large corporations scale down their advertising on the network.

General Motors said in 2012 that there was little justification for advertising on Facebook because of a low correlation with vehicle sales.

However, Facebook reported in its annual results that daily active users had increased by 19% (829 million) over 2013, and mobile users increased by 39% to 654 million.

Those numbers have propelled Facebook's revenue to $5.4bn in 2014, from $3.2bn last year as advertisers have scrambled to engage with the audience.

"The hackathon hosted by Facebook is one of many opportunities emerging for young people to excel in the brand communications industry," said Andrew Human, CEO of The Loeries.

The hackathon is limited to 40 participants and will take place between 10:00 and 16:00 at Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town.

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